Science festival call to businesses

Five-year-old Yeva Baruch promotes last year's event. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA
Five-year-old Yeva Baruch promotes last year's event. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA
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ORGANISERS of a city science festival are urging businesses to get involved as they plan a month- long programme of events aimed at inspiring people of all ages.

The Bradford Science Festival started two years ago on the back of the city hosting the British Science Festival a year earlier.

Now it has an event of its own and this year’s is planned to be by far the biggest yet.

During the national science festival event in Bradford in 2011 the charity Space Connections ran the ‘Young People’s Programme’. They have decided to repeat it ever since giving the city its own science festival.

In 2012, Space Connections ran their first event aimed both at children with a programme based on a ‘Science Fiction, Science Fact, Science Future’ theme and an adult’s programme, called ‘Fifty Shades of Science’. Last year the event expanded reaching more than 3,500 children and now organisers want this year to be the biggest yet with events spanning an entire month rather than a week.

It is being backed by Bradford’s university, college and council along with the city’s National Media Museum.

But the event’s organiser, Helen Barraclough, the director of the STEM Education Trust, is appealing for more science and technology businesses to get involved as sponsors and contributors to help inspire the scientists of the future.

She said: “What we are trying to do is engage with young people and to teach them science in an innovative way.

“I think by the time a pupil is 13 or 14 it is too late to get them to turn to science. We have to reach out to younger children.

“One of the problems science has is that teaching in schools cannot respond to changes and scientific discoveries quickly enough.

“For instance, French is French. The language is going to be pretty much the same in five years’ time but scientific discovery and the use of science is constantly changing. But by the time something has happened it could take five years for it to be taught because schools teach to a restrictive curriculum. What we want to do is show how science affects people’s everyday lives now.

“The science festival is a perfect opportunity for any firm involved in science, technology engineering and maths to be able to showcase this.”

The theme for this year’s festival is Let’s Get Digital. It will be centred around a children’s programme of events from October 15 to 17 but will also have events running throughout the month. There will be a digital conference focusing on big and open data for regional businesses, a teacher’s event exploring the ‘digital classroom’, a science pub crawl, and a science fiction film festival.

Ms Barraclough said one aspect of the festival will be looking at science fiction films and showing how things that were once science fiction – such as cloning – are now a reality.

The digital classroom will see teachers from all sectors invited to talks, demonstrations and interactive activities that look at aspects of how science and technology will affect classrooms in the future. Ms Barraclough said all aspects of the festival aimed to both get young people inspired by science but also to show how the subject could help people to find a future career.

As part of a programme of events, pupils at Bradford secondary schools have been challenged to produce an item of clothing which features technology.

Any businesses interested in supporting the festival should contact Helen@spaceconnections.net.