With hundreds of sci-curious minds of all ages slipping into the Revolutionary orbit of 2022 Edinburgh Science Festival – world’s first science festival – the event now draws to a close, having delivered a fantastic and ambitious programme of live workshops, Big Ideas discussions, free interactive exhibitions and many more, over half of which was free to experience. This year’s edition engaged with 32 fantastic partner organisations from Scotland and wider UK and gave a platform to a range of inspiring speakers, over half of whom were women.
Following a challenging period, the Festival has truly came back with a bang, doing what it does best – live, hands-on science-based experiences for everyone!
The 2022 edition was themed around Revolutions, focusing on revolutionary approaches to everything from personal to planetary health – and with an unashamed emphasis on the urgency of tackling the climate crisis.
With Cirrus Logic as its Headline Sponsor and with matched funding from Culture & Business Fund Scotland, the Festival also celebrated 50 years since James Lovelock first referred to his revolutionary Gaia hypothesis in print – drawing public attention to the interconnectedness of the delicate ecological cycles essential to sustaining life on Earth.
Amanda Tyndall, Festival and Creative Director at Edinburgh Science said: “Delivering live events is in our blood and what we love doing most so we were ecstatic to be able to share Revolutions with our audiences.
“Seeing the rapt faces of our audiences as they heard from some of the biggest thinkers in science and the joy of young people getting hands-on with our exhibitions and workshops makes all the hard work worth it. Thank you to all our sponsors and partners for all their invaluable support. We are already planning what next year has in store so watch this space!”
Its flagship family venue, City Art Centre, enthused thousands of young minds who had a chance to dig up dinosaur fossils, make their own slime, code a robot, perform a surgery or become a conservationist. Big Ideas discussions for adults welcomed world-renowned scientists to the Scottish capital – from author and broadcaster Prof. Jim Al-Khalili, philosopher and author A.C. Grayling, climate activist and author Alice Bell and Edinburgh Medal recipient and conservationist, Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka.
Audience favourite, sociable events at the Festival featured eco-cocktails, phenomenal fungi and exclusive after-hours access to National Museum of Scotland and City Art Centre, getting everyone inspired to awake their inner sci-curiosity and help fight the climate crisis.
Similar to previous years, the Festival delivered a fantastic range of free, interactive exhibitions – highlighting overconsumption, Consumed on The Mound, exploring the pros and cons of big data, DataSphere at the National Museum of Scotland, and large-scale photography exhibition showing the beauty of Wild Scotland, located on Portobello Promenade – all aiming to encourage audiences to change their everyday behaviours and join the science revolution.
Combining the worlds of STEM and arts, the Festival also showcased the many fascinating facets of STEAM through art displayed at Summerhall, National Museum of Scotland and City Art Centre, including Elemental, interactive artwork looking at ancient elements, and Silent Chaos who transformed the Museum’s Grand Gallery into a bespoke information collector, gathering data from the people visiting and the activities occurring there.
As per every year, the Festival also engaged with a range of partner organisations, community groups and delegates. The Edinburgh Science Delegate Programme held 12 events and created exclusive digital content, all of which were designed to spark ideas and connections, welcoming those who are just starting out in their careers as well international visitors from like-minded organisations, in hope that the conversations continue into 2022 and beyond.
The Festival team also worked closely with community groups from across Edinburgh – including North Edinburgh, Wester Hailes, Niddrie – restoring the confidence needed to embrace family days out after the isolation of the last two years, removing barriers to access and inspiring ongoing participation in arts and STEM activities across the city long after the Science Festival has ended. This included providing free travel and access to Festival venues and events. The project was met with a great response and the team plans to develop it to be included in Edinburgh Science’s year-round events and opportunities.
Similar to previous years, the Festival engaged with many primary schools – 440 Edinburgh primary school children visited City Art Centre, thanks to support from Baillie Gifford. Also, various Scottish primary schools took part in a photography competition as part of Wild Scotland, and with over 80 stunning submissions, Carson Rowe from Ayrshire took the trophy with his image entitled Where next?
Edinburgh Science Festival 2023
2023 Edinburgh Science Festival will take place from 1 to 16 April and embrace the concepts of experimentation, innovation, creativity, curiosity and invention that lie at the heart of all scientific and creative disciplines, with an overall theme and call to action of Let’s Experiment.
Experiments test theories (or call for new ones!) and provide the basis for expanding our scientific knowledge and evidence base. Experimentation is a crucial part of innovation, and creative thinking across disciplines is essential if we are to harness the opportunities, and deal with the potential perils and pitfalls of our rapidly changing world.
Bringing together innovators – scientists, engineers and practitioners from across the spectrum of the arts – and showcasing the work of the ‘experimenters’ working on the cutting-edge of science, technology, engineering and design, the 2023 Festival will celebrate the spirit of adventure, enquiry and experimentation, which all push the frontiers of our knowledge about ourselves, the world around us and our place in the wider universe.