February 2021

Festival of Tomorrow shows go on-demand as thousands enjoy Swindon’s virtual festival and ask for more!

Festival of Tomorrow Going Online
The organisers of the Festival of Tomorrow have responded to massive demand to make the talks and shows available on demand. Thus the Festival of Tomorrow is going online.

They’re going to release some of the highlights online over the coming weeks and months.

Thousands of attendees enjoyed a glimpse of the future last weekend at the virtual Festival of Tomorrow. This is Swindon’s annual showcase of the latest in UK research and innovation.

The first online event

The first show going on-line is an in-depth look at how UK research is leading the fight against the coronavirus. It has a panel of leading experts, chaired by BBC radio’s award-winning science presenter, Roland Pease. BBC’s Marty Jopson intrigued visitors with his remote operation of a Zeiss electron microscope. They got a live close-up look at a real SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus.

The UK Space Agency

Festival visitors were delighted by a surprise last-minute addition to the programme. A rare, informal live Q&A session with Sue Horne, Head of Space Exploration for the UK Space Agency.  Swindonians got the chance to ask a wide range of questions about last week’s NASA Perseverance Mars rover landing. And the vital role of UK science in the mission. The event will be ‘premiered’ on YouTube on Friday 25th February.

During the online festival, families enjoyed entertainment from live shows from the BBC One Show’s resident science guy, Marty Jopson. And from science communicator Ian B, Dunne.

Festival of Tomorrow Going Online - Marty jopson

Have you heard? – it’s in the stars

The festival featured a virtual planetarium show. And the chance to see a climate observation project. Further highlights included live experiments, demonstrations, and activities to try at home from over 50 exhibitors. They included Intel, the Institute of Physics and many universities and institutes.

Other highlights:

1.The European Space Agency and a panel of leading researchers sharing how satellites help tackle climate change
2. A science rap show …
3. … and talks from experts on wide-ranging subjects. For example: the big bang, solar observation, the science behind healthier white bread and the psychological impacts of isolation.

Swindonians particularly enjoyed the rare chance for a sneak peek behind the scenes at the Science Museum Group’s National Collection Centre project at Wroughton.

Festival Director, Rod Hebden said ‘the postive response from visitors has bowled us over. Although everyone missed the excitement of a physical event, we had people of all ages telling us how much they appreciated being able to chat to world-leading researchers and experts on the online platform.’

Rod explained ‘Being online enabled us to bring together an amazing range of inspiring speakers and panellists. We had a line-up that simply wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.’

The Festival of Tomorrow

The Festival of Tomorrow is a collaboration between New Elements and STEAM Museum. It’s supported by Swindon-based UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). That’s the public body responsible for overseeing all public-funded research.

“Our vision is of a society in which research and innovation is created, used, challenged, valued and shared by all’ said Alexis Mannion, Head of Public Engagement for UKRI ‘.

And it’s our belief that involving the public in research improves its quality and makes it much more relevant to society.

We’re delighted that so many visitors to the Festival of Tomorrow had the chance to explore:
a. how we’re tackling global challenges and …
b. … building the world of tomorrow through research and innovation.’


To find out more or watch online, visit www.scienceswindon.com/festival-on-demand