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Rounding up the Network in 2018


By Anna Woolman, UKSFN coordinator

2018 was another big year for the UK Science Festivals Network (UKSFN). Not only did we finish it 50 members strong, but we also started and continued a number of exciting projects…


UK Science Festivals Network conference (UKSFN18)

For the second year, we brought together science festival organisers and those interested in the sector to discuss best practice in live science events. This year there was a focus on diversity and inclusion, from practical advice on diversifying those delivering content, to learnings from the national campaign to get more women and girls into sports (‘This Girl Can’), and much more. Catch up on what was discussed here.


UKRI/UKSFN: engaging underserved audiences

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the UKSFN partnered again for the second year to engage underserved young people with science through their local science festivals. A number of members got involved, partnering with local community groups to deliver a variety of successful activities and long-term engagement projects. Keep an eye out for a summary of this project in 2018 which will be posted online in the coming months.


UKSFN: innovating by design

Over the final 6 months of 2018, 5 festivals in the Network were supported and guided by the Design Council to develop their approaches in reaching underserved audiences. This pilot project not only sought to give festivals the chance to reflect on their practices, but also provided valuable professional development opportunities – something that is often left by the wayside in the face of more pressing demands for festival organisers. We are thankful to the Wellcome Trust for supporting the first iteration of this collaboration and look forward to seeing where it goes in 2019. Read more about the project here.


We are proud of what has come out of these projects over the year and look forward to building on them in 2019. However, none of it is possible without our members, who, over the last year ran 4,080 events involving 10,941 scientists, researchers and presenters. This culminated in 1,225,779 face-to-face interactions with the public and the involvement of 3,074 volunteers. This is all summarised neatly in our most recent infographic. As ever, we are very proud to represent a diverse and passionate group of festivals and their organisers. We cannot wait to continue working with everyone over the coming months.

If you are interested in joining the Network or want to discuss potential partnerships, please get in touch at info@sciencefestivals.uk