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Programme launched for Virtual Learning Festival

17 June 2020
Derry City and Strabane District Council have revealed a packed programme for the world's first Virtual Learning Festival, which will take place on July 1st and 2nd.
Marking the city's membership of the UNESCO'S Global Network of Learning Cities, the festival – which is funded by North West Regional College, Derry City and Strabane District Council and Ulster University - will offer a wide range of online learning experiences and activities. Events will take the form of information sessions, live presentations, short films and live chats.
There will be something for everyone under this year's themes of lifelong learning and learning through a pandemic - covering topics from animation and technology to cooking and CV writing.
Ulster University will host of variety of online events, from an interactive session on robotics to a discussion around language and identity from Dr Neil Comer, Lecturer in Irish at the School of Arts and Humanities, and Dr Frank Ferguson, Research Director - English Language and Literature.
With recent approval from the Executive Office for the opening of Magee's Graduate-Entry Medical School, medicine will also be a big focus from Ulster University, with Professor Louise Dubras, Foundation Dean of the GEMS, and Professor Tony Bjourson of C-TRIC discussing medicine in the 21st Century.
North West Regional College lecturers will host a series of online events, ranging from swing dance style combinations, health and sport activities to include tips for a healthy lifestyle, first aid and holistic health, as well as online cooking demos.
For those who are looking for guidance on employment, Craft Training will be providing information sessions on creating a CV and interview skills, and will also provide tutorials on construction and catering.
With many people now spending a lot more time at home, the Virtual Learning Festival will also focus on technology and how it can be utilised in many different ways.
The Nerve Centre will provide bitesize tutorials on building your own iPad animation, creating a timelapse animation, and even how to get the best out of your webcam for Zoom meetings, while Allstate will discuss the important topic of cyber safety for kids through an interactive session.
The North West Japanese Cultural Group will look at Japanese folktale in Irish and creating origami paper crafts. The Cedar Foundation will deliver an important presentation on disability awareness.
Participants can also develop their skills in the kitchen with a lesson in making pizza dough and Italian basics from U3A, or some crazy kitchen science from STEM Aware.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney, will officially open the Virtual Learning Festival with a webinar alongside Raúl Valdes Cotera, Programme Manager UNESCO Lifelong Learning, on Wednesday, July 1st, and the Mayor said the range of events really captured the essence of what learning is about for all ages.
"Looking at the wonderful and wide-ranging programme that has been put in place for this festival is extremely exciting – there really is something for everyone and I think it has been adapted really well to fit in with the current climate in taking the festival online.
"We can all do with learning new things, whether it's a new skill or education on really important issues like disability awareness or the role medicine plays in our society.
"This programme celebrates everyone, from our young children to our students, and the adults out there as well – it's never too late to learn!
"Our current situation can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, and this festival offers the perfect solution, by picking up new skills and information, and by utilising technology in a way that we may never have needed before.
"I'm really looking forward to taking part."
Padraig Canavan, Chair of the Learning Cities Programme, said:
"Whether you just dip in to enhance the learning you love or open your mind by sampling all the free learning available, there is something for everyone in the global debut of a virtual Learning City festival.  We welcome any link, like and learn! Be part of it – Derry's Learning City Festival, July 1st & 2nd coming to a screen next to you!" 
For more information, visit https://www.derrystrabane.com/LearningFest or email [email protected]
Make sure to follow What's On Derry Strabane social media for regular festival updates.