Viewing entries tagged
Manchester Science Festival

You have been upgraded

You have been upgraded

It was amazing to take part and support the realisation of Jon Spooner’s live event, ‘You Have Been Upgraded’. This was a really special experience, especially as it took place at the Science and Industry Museum. Lots of conversations about human enhancement!

Manchester Science Festival

Manchester Science Festival

Another year and another amazing festival. We did so much stuff, it’s hard to know where to begin. So, here’s a quick glimpse of our programme.

Fake News, Science, and Journalism

Fake News, Science, and Journalism

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at an event hosted by the British Association of Science Writers focused on Fake News and Scientific Journalism. I was anxious first to draw our attention to the absurdity of this discussion, as it has been inflicted on us by Trump and his ridiculous accusations of fake news towards established, credible media organizations.

Anyway, moving on, we are here, the discourse has taken off and shone a light on how news information becomes indistinguishable from blatantly fake news, but also how it becomes blurred with entertainment.

My main concern in this is are the squeeze that printed press face, as a result of the social media era. We need to find better ways to support investigative journalism, but we also need to understand how people encounter news information across their day and across different devices. Otherwise, we are failing to take into account how this affects their receptiveness to certain media formats, or just the cognitive process that operates around such journeys. 

A few weeks ago, we created the Library of Fake News as an installation for the Manchester Science Festival and I believe we need libraries to help us navigate this complex world of web news, where bottom line interests dominate all stakeholders. Libraries may be our only independent public institution that can help us wade through the noise and figure out what's really going on in the world.

 

 

Tomorrow's World Live - ROBOTS

Tomorrow's World Live - ROBOTS

This week, I took part in a TW Live event at the Museum of Science and Industry. You can watch the recording here.

Manchester Science Festival 2017

Manchester Science Festival 2017

This is probably the biggest event in my calendar and it's happening over the next week! My role is to work with a great team at Salford Uni to develop, design, curate, and produce a programme of work for the Festival. As Educational Sponsor, we put a lot of work into this and it's huge this year. Headlines for me personally including having our VC open the festival at the main launch, spread of budget investment across 4 schools and various other units, over 50 staff members involved in delivery, about the same number of students, and some really creative, innovative events. 

The biggest one in terms of production for us is the GameLab, which happens weekend of 21/22 October. Here's a quick glimpse of it...

We also have the Annual Lecture in Science Communication, given by Jon Chase this year, winner of the Josh Award. You can sign up for that here

Our whole programme can be found at our #SciComm Space website and it's huge!

GameLab at Manchester Science Festival

GameLab at Manchester Science Festival

Really excited to announce our GameLab weekender for the opening of Manchester Science Festival. Here's a quick overview.  Working with VR Manchester to pull together this amazing event, which will include a citizen science showcase, VR demos, game experiences, science showing off, an eSport space, and a VR Gym. You can come for a drop in experience 21-22 Oct at our Media City building in Salford, 11am-5pm, or if you are a hard core VR person, sign up to a more formal programme here

 

 

The Secret Science of Superheroes

The Secret Science of Superheroes

Amazing to have received my copy of my new book, co-edited with Professor Mark Lorch. He and I cooked up a book sprint in Manchester Science Festival with some of the best people in the business to produce a fun book around the science behind superhero skills! It was published by the Royal Society of Chemistry and covers everything from Wonder Woman's lasso to what Spiderman eats for breakfast. You can find the book on Amazon, or at the RSC.

Amorance

Amorance

As part of the Manchester Science Festival closing weekend, I developed and co-produced an event called Amorance, exploring the science of falling in love. We had some of the most amazing science communicators around the UK involved, including Dr Marieke Navin, Dr Erinma Ochu, Dr Sam Illingworth, Dr Gary Kerr, Dr Jo Meredith, Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall and Dr Rod Dubrow-Marshall, and fantastic performers. 

It was the most amazing event I have ever worked on and I really feel like we might have generated some life-long memories for people. In a world where we often focus more on the numbers, the depth of an experience is often a harder goal to achieve. Yet, the most significant memories in our lives - and possibly the most informative or educative - are those that have a deep impact on us and whose influence can stretch further. I will always remember a production of 'A Brief History of Time' at the Tramway theatre in Glasgow, which is one of the most memorable theatre experiences of my life. Their audience for that show was deliberately 12 people and it was amazing. 

That's what we tried to do with this event, time will tell whether we managed it! Here's some coverage...

Salford Science Jam

Salford Science Jam

Our most spectacular event in Manchester Science Festival is the Salford Science Jam, in which we had an amazing array of events for all the families. This year's production included a plethora of virtual reality systems, co-creation of the amazing Sensory Sound Pit, by European City of Science Artist in Residence, Di Mainstone, a co-commission with the Foundation of Art and Creative Technology, and even Dr Helen Sharman's space suit. More documentation to follow!

Drone Expo

Drone Expo

Another big delivery for me within the Manchester Science Festival was the Drone Expo at the Museum of Science and Industry, which took place over the opening weekend of the festival. It was produced in association with my Josh Award for Science Communication and we created a large flying space at MOSI with professional pilots and STEM volunteers to show the public what's happening with this amazing techology.

Science Jam

Science Jam

Well, this is the night when it all comes together, the preview of our Science Jam, our main delivery weekend within Manchester Science Festival. Over the last year, I have been curating a programme of work in the festival as Salford University's contribution. For many of the activities, I've also had some creative oversight and provided direction to some of the amazing people around the projects. 

It has been an amazing and exhausting journey to get to this point, but the evening was a great success, with previews of the Royal Photographic Society science prize, the Chernobyl installation, Alienated Life?, and our co-commission exporing electricity and art, Kinetic Flux, produced with artists Paul Miller and Griet Beyaert, along with some science busking and a premiere of a new documentary science film called Traces.

There was so much over this weekend, I'm not sure how to showcase it, but here's a snapshot.

Science Question Time

Science Question Time

For the first time in Manchester Science Festival, we have produced a 'Science Question Time', which I'd like to make a regular feature within the programme. To address some of the key issues facing science, we brought together a fantastic array of expertise, comprising the following:

Professor Judith Smith, parasitologist,
Dean of the School of  Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford, Manchester

Marieke Navin, physicist and science communicator
Director of Manchester Science Festival

Dr Delphine Ryan, engineer
Ministry of Defence

Gunes Taylor, biologist
University of Oxford

We held the event at the newly opened University Technical College at Media City, in their amazing tv studio, filmed by students. It was a fantastic, wide ranging debate and we'll follow it up with some key statements. The event was produced with the support of the amazing Dr Gary Kerr.

Back to the Future Today

Back to the Future Today

In advance of #futureday, I worked with Guardian journalist Joanna Goodman to produce a piece that would come out on the day. It was a fantastic chance to talk about how close the film came to realising our world as it is today. Here's the final article - it got the most views on the Guardian for that day and Joanna even came up to Manchester for our sell-out screening.

#futureday @thisisGorilla #MSF

#futureday @thisisGorilla #MSF

BTTF-image-FINAL.jpg

My first contribution to the Manchester Science Festival is this amazing screening of Back to the Future 2, a trilogy that was certainly defining of my teenage years. I'm so excited to have been able to produce this with #MSF15 and that Gorilla in Manchester is screening. Here is my presentation from the night.

BTTF%20image%20FINAL
BTTF%20image%20FINAL

Electric Art - new commission

Electric Art - new commission

IMG_0813.jpg

Over the last few weeks, I have been working with the Manchester Science Festival and Electricity North West to launch a brief for a new artistic commission titled 'Electric Art'. We have just pushed out the copy and here it is. Please share and submit! The MSF is a fantastic context for new and provocative art work and a really great week to be in Manchester!  

CALL FOR ARTISTS: ‘Electric Art’

Manchester Science Festival 2015, in Partnership with Electricity North West, and the University of Salford, Manchester.

This new £5,000 commission seeks to help realise a visual art work, developed through the theme of ‘electricity’ for exhibition during the Manchester Science Festival (October 22 - November 1, 2015). The final work will create public debate around the role of electricity in our lives and may engage. We are keen to hear from artists working across genres from digital and mixed media to craft and performance. Thematic areas may include attention to the future of electricity, forms of sculptural lighting, smart grid design, laser and alternative fuel sources.

Your Proposal:

We want to hear your ideas at this stage but would anticipate that the final piece will be informed by dialogue with Manchester Science Festival (MSF), University of Salford, and Electricity North West.

·         Please write a 250-500 word proposal for your idea and include drawings and images where appropriate (PDF format). Include any information you can at this stage about what you need to make it happen (including time, resources and budget).

·         Include a PDF of images and information to evidence your previous work.

·         Articulate in which ways the work will stimulate public engagement with the science and technologies of electricity.

·         The art works will be installed or performed within the Manchester Science Festival programme (location to be confirmed).

·         Please let us know your anticipated technical and installation requirements.

·         Projects must have a designated lead who will be the key contact with the Festival team and who will be responsible for submitting a brief evaluation report about the event upon completion.

·         Please indicate your availability for the panel selection on 15th June.

Resources

Electricity North West - The Future

http://www.enwl.co.uk/about-us/the-future

The Science and Art of Electricity, 1914

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electricity-the-science-and-art-of-1914/

Beyond/In Artists Who Engage in the Theme of Electricity and Alternating Currents

http://artvoice.com/issues/v9n43/art_scene/the_electric_company

Timetable:

Announcement of commission:  Monday 11th May 2015

Deadline for Proposals:  Monday 8th June 2015, 12.00pm

Selection Panel:  Monday 15th June 2015 12.00pm - 2.00pm

Winner notified:  Tuesday 16th June 2015

Development of project:  16th June – 3rd July 2015

Final details input into MSF online submission: Friday 3rd July 2015, 12.00pm

PR activity:  September/October 2015

MSF Launch:  Thursday 8th October 2015

Manchester Science Festival:  Thursday 22nd October – Sunday 1st November 2015

Please send your submissions to msf*at*mosi.org.uk (removing anti-spam measures).

 

 

In Conversation with Marcus Coates

In Conversation with Marcus Coates

How should we think about our relationship to other species - and their relationship to each other? This is the question we are invited to consider when seeing Marcus Coates' new work 'The Sounds of Others', which premiered at the Manchester Science Festival this week. I took part in a conversation with him and his collaborator Geoff Sample who, ironically, had to sample a bunch of animals in order to help Marcus explore his work. The project essentially involves speeding up and slowing down the sounds of different species which, when done, begin to sound remarkably like each other. This art work was funded by Cape Farewell's new Lovelock Art Commission, which explores James Lovelock's Gaia theory through art. It's a really compelling piece, which is very easily understood upon seeing it and does make one think about our place in the world. I am sure it will tour all over the place, so do try and get to it, if you find it in your neighbourhood!