Lancaster University: Lancaster Researchers debut Science Futures at Glastonbury

Festivalgoers can learn about climate change, space travel, plant power and much more at Glastonbury’s new Science Futures area.

Based in the Green Futures Field, Science Futures is co-ordinated by Dr Emma Sayer of Lancaster University and promises games, music, discussions and demonstrations.

Visitors can talk face-to-face with approachable scientists working on some of the world’s most critical problems and exciting innovations.

Science Futures offers a counter-balance to the misuse of science on social media, political spin and fake news.

Performances will take place on stage at the Laboratory, while the ‘Futurarium’ will host numerous stands and exhibits.

Arctic Basecamp, Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll and the Plant Power Station are among a host of stalls to visit.

The Sound Canopy, created by Lancaster’s Dr Liz Edwards, will take visitors on an audio journey from deep underground to outer space, while an outdoor exhibition called Science, Not Fiction will explore art’s role in science and science’s role in art.

“Science Futures is all about sharing the curiosity and fascination of scientific discovery,” said Science Futures coordinator Dr Emma Sayer, from Lancaster University.

“Lots of people see science as technical and complicated but we’re showing that it can be accessible and a lot of fun.

“Science Futures is science, Glasto-style.”

Prof. Richard Betts, a Lead Author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), added: “I’m really looking forward to chatting with people, answering their questions and hearing their views.”

Lancaster University’s Dr Ali Birkett will be at the event co-ordinating Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll which has been a feature of the Green Futures field of Glastonbury Festival since 2015.

She said: “It’s really exciting to finally able to take Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll back to Glastonbury!

“Lots of things have changed in the two years since the last festival; changes that have highlighted how important it is for the public and scientists talk together openly about the issues that we’re all facing. That’s exactly what we’re all about: bringing environmental knowledge to life through games and conversation, and giving everyone the opportunity to ask their own questions.

“This year we’re exploring how we can work with nature in our fight against climate change, in so-called ‘nature-based solutions’.”

Science Futures is supported by the University of Exeter, Lancaster University, University of Kent, Wytham Woods (University of Oxford) and the Geological Society. Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll is supported by University of Exeter, Lancaster University, the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (University of Kent), Wytham Woods (University of Oxford), JBA Trust and the MetOffice.

Lancaster University has also provided sponsorship and is one of the ‘founding institutions’ behind Science Futures. Lancaster researchers contributing to the area include: Dr Emma Sayer, Dr Ali Birkett, Dr Mike Whitfield, Dr Liz Edwards, Professor Jess Davies, Dr Nick Chappell and Professor Rob Lamb.

Shows on the Laboratory stage will include:

The Matt Palmer Band
Do Science with Ian Dunne
Biodiversity Blockbusters
Rocket Science Demos
Tenable by Tony
Soapbox shorts
The Great Ape Challenge
Ask A Scientist Q&A
Open Mic
Live interviews
Stalls at Science Futures will include:

Arctic Basecamp is a team of Arctic experts and scientists who, for the last five years, have brought the Arctic to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting at Davos. They are calling for action from global leaders to address global risks from Arctic change.
Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll’s enthusiastic researchers want to share their fascination for the natural world and make science accessible to everyone. They love music and think scientists should be more approachable – so where better to have a bit of fun with science than at Glastonbury?
The Plant Power Station brings the science of sustainable agriculture to life, entertaining and engaging festivalgoers of all ages. In a beautiful marquee, welcoming scientists will lead visitors through a series of games and activities tackling important issues like pollination, pest management, carbon footprints, organic farming, GM crops and food sourcing.
Waves of Change (University of Bristol) are a group of anthropologists, climate scientists and artists co-producing animated films with young people to imagine positive futures and spread climate hope. They will be making animations in their tent and building a sculpture with the public on the theme of climate hope – which they’ll then turn into an animated film!