Exploring HELIX — the new innovation hub for Leeds students!

My name is Kirils Vinogradovs and I’m a Digital Education Student Ambassador. I attended the launch of “HELIX”, the new University of Leeds learning innovation hub, on the 28th of September and these are my thoughts…

University of Leeds
3 min readOct 18, 2023
Kirils Vinogradovs (BSc Maths and Computing) is a Student Ambassador for the Digital Education Service

HELIX was recently built to provide students and entrepreneurs with a space to express themselves and sample innovative technologies in any way they wish. This is shown in the variety of equipment available, such as 3D printers, plethora of XR equipment (including the UK’s only Omnideck, a 360-degree virtual reality treadmill), self-recording booths and more. Along with this, the space comes with meeting rooms where you can discuss your ideas, whether that be with academics, your peers, or external professionals.

As a student ambassador on the day of the launch, I helped to guide event attendees to the different activities and tours throughout the day. Starting at 9am until the final tours at 3pm, activities included a virtual cricket game (set up with a VR headset), a virtual escape room (designed to promote a new interactive tool for use in lectures) and more.

Virtual cricket in HELIX

The highlight, in my eyes, was the Lego Serious Play workshop, a workshop that I personally had the pleasure of participating in a few days earlier! This workshop stood out to me as a perfect example of what HELIX can offer by providing a space for creativity and innovation to meet. Whilst fun to be involved in, it was also a great feedback activity. It gave other students and I a new voice, as we produced models based on our best and worst academic modules.

Once the daytime event ended at 4pm, we began preparing for the evening launch which saw academics and other University stakeholders gather to celebrate HELIX. In my role, I made sure guests got their lanyards and kept a register of who attended. When the majority had arrived, a speech was held in the Extended Reality (XR) Classroom about what the future holds for HELIX and the university.

Afterwards, I went to the Makerspace to present the products and outcomes of the Lego Serious Play workshop that I had participated in earlier that week. With colleagues from the Digital Education Service, I got to speak to professionals outside of the University who had an active interest in the activity. This was a very enlightening experience that I thoroughly enjoyed! Particularly, talking to the stakeholder that sourced the Omnideck from Milton Keynes as a donation to the University of Leeds. This conversation gave me more appreciation for the remarkable piece of equipment that it is.

All in all, the opening of HELIX felt like a successful event that I was proud to be a part of. I’m personally looking forward to seeing what is done in the space both on a student level and beyond, be that from using the available chill study spaces in the lounge to the professional equipment!

It is open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm, make sure to swing by and we look forward to seeing what you make of it!