British Science Festival takes place in Hull from 11 – 14 September 2018, hosted by the University of Hull. We met with Ivvet Modinou, British Science Festival Director, to talk science and culture.
Can you tell us what British Science Festival is all about?
The British Science Festival is Europe’s longest standing science festival, travelling to a different place in the United Kingdom each year. Our Festival aims to connect the public with interesting researchers, people and organisations from across all sectors of society, such as science, politics and the arts. Running over four days, it’s completely free and can include anything from talks and debates to performances and immersive experiences. The events span a diverse range of subjects that encompass science in the broadest sense, promising something for everyone.
What do you hope to achieve from the Festival?
The Festival is about celebrating science as a fundamental part of our culture and society. We want to provide opportunities for adults, particularly those aged 16-25, to engage with science through the interests, topics and experiences that matter to them. We want to show them that science is important, interesting, and crucially, for everybody to enjoy, engage with and be a part of.
What are the current ‘big issues’ in science?
We’re living in an extremely exciting time for scientific advancement, which is incredibly hopeful but can also encompass debate and controversy. Ocean conservation has been big on the agenda this year following the launch of Blue Planet II, which stirred up many people’s passion to protect the environment. Social media and the online world have also dominated the headlines in recent months, with the impact of it on our mental health and also the recent Facebook data scandal. These topics will all be explored during the Festival, but we’ll be covering all areas of science. Being in Hull and the Humber, we will have a special focus on energy, the environment, health and exploration, as these topics are such a crucial part of the region’s history and its future.
What kind of events can we expect to see in 2018?
We’re delighted to say that we’ve just announced some of our speakers. I’m really excited that the incredibly talented, world-beatbox champion Grace Savage will be joining us. She’ll be in-conversation with a neuroscientist who studies the voice box to understand what is happening when she performs. World-renowned physicist Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell and poet Lemn Sissay will also be there discussing the inspiring nature of science for the arts.
If you had to describe the Festival in 5 words, what would they be?
This is a great question because we actually ask our audiences to describe the Festival in 3 words. One of my favourite responses was when someone said ‘Absolutely f***ing brilliant’ – we’re hoping to achieve the same level of love and success in Hull!
Finally, why have you decided to run the Festival in Hull this year?
The city of Hull has such a fascinating history and is home to some cutting-edge research that we can’t wait to explore and showcase to the world. The University of Hull has a fantastic reputation for its research and scientific excellence, so we’re also incredibly excited to be working with the team to