Fete of the Nation

  • Free
  • Discussion
  • British Sign Language
  • Speech-to-text
Photograph of a seated audience listening to a speaker in the Viewing Room at Wellcome Collection.
Viewing Room event, Thomas SG Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

What you’ll do

Join designer Niamh Thompson for an illuminating and critical discussion about the English village fete, its history and folklore. 

Forget the homemade jam, floral bunting and tombola, in this talk Niamh will explore the quirkier and sometimes sinister side of the village fete, asking what its traditions, rituals and superstitions reveal about our identities. 

A recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, Niamh will also introduce her sculpture and multimedia work. There will be a chance to ask questions. 

The event will take place in our building and will be livestreamed on Wellcome Collection’s YouTube channel. Both will have captions but only the event in the building will have British Sign Language interpretation.

You can book a ticket to join the event in-venue or online. A recording of the event will be available to watch afterwards.

For those attending in person, there will be original material from our collections on display and an opportunity to make a badge or a pipe-cleaner corn doll inspired by the conversation.



Viewing Room

Livestream event

Tickets via Eventbrite

Need to know


We’ll be in the Viewing Room. It’s next to the Library entrance on level 2, which you can reach by taking the lift or the stairs.

Place not guaranteed

Booking a ticket for a free event does not guarantee you a place. You should aim to arrive up to 15 minutes before the event is scheduled to start to claim your place. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 020 7611 2222.

Guaranteed (online)

Booking a ticket guarantees you entry to the online event. You will be given joining instructions in your confirmation email. If you have any access requests or requirements, for example a transcript of the event, email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 020 7611 2222.

British Sign Language

This event will have British Sign Language interpretation. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 020 7611 2222.


This event will have live speech-to-text transcription, which may be useful for people who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or neurodiverse. The captions will be displayed on a large screen in-venue and embedded in the event video window online. Ticketholders for the livestream will also receive a link to view the captions in a separate window.

Our event terms and conditions

About your speaker

Black and white photograph of designer Niamh Thompson

Niamh Thompson

Niamh Thompson is a London-based designer and recent graduate from the Royal College of Art (RCA). While at the RCA, Niamh conducted a critical investigation into the emergence of nationalism within the English village fete. More broadly, her practice is research-led and, through an exploration of archival material – be that home videos nestled within village halls or abstractions of folk-horror theories tucked away in the darkest corners of TikTok – her work engages with politics, relationships, typography and British folk culture.