The Festival of Hidden REF

Date21st September 2023
VenueM Shed, Bristol
What’s on?Programme is copied below
Can I volunteer?Yes you can!

The Festival of Hidden REF will bring together people who work in non-traditional research roles alongside policymakers, publishers and others involved in the research assessment. You should attend this free event if you would like to raise recognition for your unrecognised role or practice. You will join a community that is fighting for a more effective and fairer system of evaluating success in research.

If you would like to attend, please register your interest in a free ticket. General registration will open on 3 July, but people on our lists will be given early access to tickets.

Keep an eye on this website and Twitter to keep up to date with the Festival of Hidden REF. Please get in touch with your ideas and questions!

Running the 2021 Hidden REF competition was exhilarating! Submissions poured in from universities around the UK. Volunteers gave up their free time to help. Reviewers reported that some of the submissions had moved them to tears! We soon realised that this could not be left as a one-off competition: the Hidden REF had become a campaign. The Festival of Hidden REF is the next step in this campaign. Whilst the competition raised recognition of non-traditional roles and practices, the Festival will address problems with research assessment, help develop new policies and build new communities.

The objective of the Festival of Hidden REF will be to examine its co-working methods in 2021, towards hosting a subsequent Hidden REF in 2024.  The Festival will also build a community for people who care about celebrating non-traditional research outputs, people and practices.

Towards achieving this aim, a working document will be continually curated during the Festival that will ensure the ideas, enthusiasm and energy shared during the day will inform the forthcoming HiddenREF festival. The document, in accordance with the values and community-focus of the HiddenREF, will be owned and therefore jointly-authored by all HiddenREF Festival participants.  Though this document, unfortunately, will be neither REF- nor HiddenREF-able, it will be disseminated wider as a way to spread the ideas and insights of the HiddenREF community on how to improve research assessment, recognition and celebration.

Everyone is invited! If your Hidden Role doesn’t appear on our website, then we are especially interested in hearing from you. We will be joined by policymakers from across academia and government. These will include people involved in designing research assessment programmes, such as the REF, representatives from universities across the UK, and research assessment experts from around the world.


The Festival will focus on the attendees: we want your views, you ideas and your help in developing the Hidden REF into a community that will campaign for a better and fairer system of research assessment.

0930-0945Welcome and introduction to the Festival
0945-1015Lightning talks from invited speakers and attendees
1015-1045Coffee break
1045-1200Guerrilla Group 1: break outs on various subjects that will help us improve the Hidden REF
1200-1230Feedback from Guerrilla Group 1
1330-1445Guerrilla Group 2: breakouts on subjects suggested by attendees around careers, communities and research assessment
1515-1630Panel: discussion around the subjects raised during the Festival
1630-1700Wrap up, thank you and future plans.


The Hidden REF is almost an entirely volunteer-run activity. We want this to change in the future, but whilst we’re building our community, we have relied on volunteers to run our committee and organise our events.

If you would like to help with the organisation and running of the Festival of Hidden REF, please sign up!

You can choose how to help with the Festival. The following list gives an idea of the range of activities that we will be conducting, but please let us know if you have another idea.

Sponsor liaison
CommunicationsPress liaison
Content development
Social media
Speaker liaison
Code of ConductCode of Conduct committee member
Code of Conduct representative
LogisticsVenue liaison
Accommodation liaison
Volunteer organisation
Assistant to the Chairs
On the dayFront of House/Registration
Room Managers
TechnicalWebsite development
Tech runners