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Virtual Learning Festival to offer wide range of learning experiences and activities

03 June 2020
Web learning cities

To mark the region's status as a member of the UNESCO'S Global Network of Learning Cities, the city and region will host the world's first Virtual Learning City Festival, celebrating lifelong learning experiences across the city and district on the 1st and 2nd of July 2020.

The virtual event replaces the original Lifelong Learning Festival originally planned for May 18th 2020. Funded by North West Regional College and Ulster University, the Virtual Learning City Festival will offer a wide range of online learning experiences and activities. Events will take the form of online information sessions, live presentations, short films and live chats.

The new virtual programme will provide opportunities for people to enjoy new electronic learning experiences through a series of interactive, live streamed and recorded sessions. Key themes which the Virtual Festival will explore are: Jobs & Skills, Health & Well-Being, Arts & Culture and Technology & Science.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, today issued a "Call to Learn" to the people of Derry City and Strabane region.

"Fresh from the success of the Jazz Festival, once again Derry City and Strabane District Council is stepping up to take a creative approach to the delivery of events and experiences that will benefit and support local people at this time. Technology has a major role to play as we find innovative and creative ways to interact and learn, and the Virtual Learning Festival will provide a platform to celebrate learning in a digital age," he said.

"Lots of local groups and partner institutions had engaged with the original programme for the Lifelong Learning Festival. Now we have adapted their activities to offer a virtual version of this dynamic festival which can be just as informative and fun but delivered online. I hope this new programme will offer local people the opportunity to participate and celebrate learning, in-keeping with our new approaches to working and learning from home."

Derry City and Strabane's status as a member of UNESCO's Learning Cities Network - sponsored by Derry City and Strabane District Council, North West Regional College and Ulster University - has already strengthened and further enhanced the city's capacity as a learning hub. News this month that plans for a Graduate-Entry Medical School at Ulster University's Magee campus have been given the green light by the Executive Office will act as a further catalyst for developing learning and research opportunities in the city and region.

Encouraging citizens to participate, Chair of the Learning Cities Programme, Padraig Canavan, said:

"Education is personally transformational and we want to ensure that everyone at all ages can benefit equally by embracing the UNESCO Learning Cities ethos. While circumstances prevent us from delivering the original physical programme of events, we still want to raise awareness of the learning opportunities the City has to offer, so I encourage all learning providers to please be a part of the new virtual celebration. Let's make this global Learning City Festival an event that will encourage lifelong learning in all of us."

The Lifelong Learning Festival Programme planned for May 18th had aimed to make learning accessible to everyone and showcase the wide variety of learning activities and events on offer across the city and region. The objective for this virtual festival is to maintain this momentum by showcasing the depth and breadth of learning on offer in the city and region, for all citizens.

Funders Ulster University and North West Regional College will also contribute dynamic sessions during the Festival to provide as wide an audience as possible with an accessible taste of the perspectives and expertise on offer in the Region. Ulster University's academics will speak on themes as diverse as language and identity and robotics and Industry 4.0. while North West Regional College academics will speak on learning for everyday life topics as diverse as how to grow your own food, how to change a tyre, coding for your kids, or learning the basics of a new language.

If you would like more information, please email:

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