Students from Cornwall attend the first Oxplore Festival
Students from Cornwall attend the first Oxplore Festival

Oxford University hosts first of its kind educational festival in Cornwall

Oxford University has hosted its inaugural Oxplore Festival in Bodmin, Cornwall this week (9 and 10 July). 

The travelling event brought together Oxford researchers and 500 11 to 13-year-olds from local state schools, with the aim of reaching, informing and inspiring children about higher education and Oxford.

It is one of a number of access initiatives introduced by the University to support students from regions of the UK where fewer students currently go on to Oxford and engage with them earlier on in their educational journey. In 2023, students from the Southwest made up 8.2% of total UK undergraduates admitted to Oxford.

Students at the Oxplore Festival learning about keyhole surgery and experiencing virtual reality cyclingStudents at the Oxplore Festival learning about keyhole surgery and experiencing virtual reality cycling

We were delighted to host our first Oxplore Festival in Cornwall this week. This is an important initiative that supports our work to improve opportunities for talented students currently under-represented at Oxford.

It has been wonderful to meet local students as well as their teachers who are reporting that students who rarely engage with teaching and learning are asking questions, getting involved and offering views. 

We hope that they have not only enjoyed their day, but that many of them have been inspired to think about their academic aspirations and consider university, and we hope Oxford, in the future.

Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Oxford

Hosted by Oxford staff, students and researchers, Year 7 and 8 students from 20 schools attended a range of fun and interactive workshops to encourage curiosity and critical thinking.

They also got involved in hands-on activities in the Exhibition zone: from trying out a virtual reality bike, meeting some of Oxford’s musculoskeletal experts and having a go at keyhole surgery, to designing an earthquake-proof structure with the help of staff from Oxford’s Department of Earth Sciences.


Among the visitors from Oxford were Charlie the Robot and their amazing lungs from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and a robot called SPOT from Oxford’s Robotics Institute that can venture into danger zones.

Find out more about the Oxplore Festival and Oxford's undergraduate access programmes.