The British Science Association (BSA) and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) are pleased to announce that they are moving ahead with planning for the British Science Festival 2021, after the 2020 Festival was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Festival will take place from 7 – 11 September 2021, and will be hosted by ARU.
Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said: “The last year has, more than ever before, demonstrated the importance and the wonder of science, and how it shapes all our lives and futures. Hosting the British Science Festival provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate research by ARU academics working right across the scientific spectrum, and it is fantastic that the people of Chelmsford and Essex will have this prestigious event on their doorstep. The events, activities and installations will have something for everyone, and will give people the opportunity to engage in discussion and debate on the big challenges facing our society and the environment.”
Gill Riches, Director of Programmes at the BSA, said: “While the pandemic is still a fast-moving emergency in the UK, it is challenging to make firm logistical arrangements, but the team are working on various scenarios that include a ‘hyper-local’ approach, with events held outdoors and in line with social distancing guidelines, and a programme of online content.”
The UK festivals scene has been decimated by COVID-19. Science festivals are a key cultural offering in many towns and cities annually, and there is concern that the sector will be one of the last to recover. The BSA, on behalf of the UK Science Festivals Network, submitted a response to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the impact of the pandemic.
Riches added: “The coronavirus crisis has not only highlighted the need for relevant and inclusive science communication, but also the value of community cohesion. We believe that science festivals can serve as an important catalyst for both, but their future is at risk. The BSA will continue to support UK Science Festival Network members and champion the role of science festivals in the months ahead.”
Further details about the British Science Festival 2021 programme of events and activities will be announced in due course.