UK Science Festivals Network Conference 2022 Programme

    8.45 – Hopin open for joining

    8.55 – Hopin orientation

    9.00 – Welcome and State of the sector

    10.00 – People, the pandemic and the rise of digital engagement

    10.45 (15 minute session) – Doodle break

    11.00 – Emerging technologies, evolving audiences OR A guide to greener events

    12.00 – Lunch break & Networking

    13.00 – Co-production 101 (part 1) OR Unprecedented times: responding to an evolving events space

    14.00 – Co-production 101 (part 2) OR Community FM

    14.45 (15 minute session) – Assisting the assisters: meet a service dog!

    15.00 – Case study: What makes a successful collaborative bid? OR Case Study: Designing with communities

    15.45 (15 minute session) – And breathe…

    16.00 – Reflections from UKSFN22 and the road ahead

    16.45 – Conference ends



    State of the sector

    UKSFN22 will commence with a special welcome from Maggie Aderin-Pocock, before our panel of voices from the Science Engagement community delve into some of the lessons learned during the last twelve months.

    The sector has experienced highs and lows, and everything in between during 2021. With the rise of digital engagement and the gradual return of face-to-face activities, we’re reflecting on the many lessons learned along the way. From a continued focus on equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), to the compelling advances in participatory content development, join us to explore the state of the sector.

    Maggie Aderin-Pocock (President of the British Science Association), Antonio Benitez (Chair of UKSFN), Amanda Tyndall (Edinburgh Science Festival), Heather King (King’s College London)



    People, the pandemic and the rise of digital engagement 

    How has the pandemic influenced the way audiences think and act?

    Adam Koszary reveals all by sharing audience behaviours and views captured by the Cultural Participation Model. This ongoing, long-term panel survey sheds light on key topics within digital engagement, including digital inclusion, accessibility, and insights into content.

    Adam Koszary (The Audience Agency)


    10.45 (15 minute session)

    Doodle break

    Grab yourself some paper, and a pencil or pen and get ready for some drawing games! Suitable for any level of artistic ability, whether you’re convinced you can’t draw or doodle through every meeting.

    Hana Ayoob (Illustrator and Science Communicator)



    Emerging technologies, evolving audiences

    Art AI Festival is currently delivering a ten-month, international programme of striking art installations, exploring themes around artificial intelligence (AI), as well as an online programme of talks from leading artists, generating hundreds of thousands of engagements per month.

    Find out from Festival Director Tracy Harwood how they have been using emerging technologies to develop their approach to engagement and explore the impacts of these digital strategies on evolving audience behaviours.

    Tracy Harwood (De Montfort University)


    A guide to greener events

    COP26 has once again shone a light on the urgent and growing need for climate action. As organisers of science events and festivals, what practical steps can we take to embrace sustainability and minimise any detrimental environmental impacts?

    Join Teresa Moore for a crash course in how to incorporate eco-conscious methods and positive social actions into our event planning and operations, as we look to a more sustainable future for the science engagement sector.

    Teresa Moore (A Greener Festival)



    Co-production 101 (part 1)

    Across the sector, more organisers are shifting from a traditional top-down approach to embrace a new way of working. Through co-production, users and organisers are working collaboratively on a level playing field to create a service or make decisions that include everyone.

    Join us for the first of two back-to-back practical workshops, delving into what true co-production means, and how we can practice inclusion of users in our own festivals and science events.

    Come ready to challenge assumptions about existing ways of working!

    Bonnie Chiu and Lucía Urrieta Chávez (The Social Investment Consultancy)


    Unprecedented times: responding to an evolving events space

    Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, restrictions and guidelines have shifted time and time again. This ongoing state of flux has created much uncertainty for organisers of in-person events across the sector, as we tackle the brave new worlds of contingency planning, social distancing and endless supplies of hand sanitiser!

    Ellie Harris shares her learnings and insights from planning and delivering Greenwich & Docklands International Festival (GDIF) in the midst of evolving Covid-19 restrictions. With so many of us facing similar challenges, this session will offer valuable practical reflections and guidance to take forward into 2022.

    Ellie Harris (GDIF)



    Co-production 101 (part 2)

    Join us for the second of two back-to-back practical workshops. The workshops at 13.00 and 14.00 will cover different content, so do consider attending both sessions.

    Bonnie Chiu and Lucía Urrieta Chávez (The Social Investment Consultancy)


    Community FM

    How can science engagement move away from experts handing out information to a process that prioritises the voices and opinions of users?

    Public engagement professionals from the University of Bath have been working closely with a group of five local community radio stations, to hone in on key topics that they see as important and relevant. Find out how this project used a participatory approach to facilitate collaboration between the groups and local researchers, and showed how community radio support civic deliberation, creative engagement and social participation.

    Dean Veall (University of Bath)


    14.45 (15 minute session)

    Assisting the assisters: meet a service dog!

    Join Julie Ann Fooshee and meet her brilliant service dog Ghost. Julie Ann will draw on personal experience as both an organiser and attendee to share insights into making event spaces accessible for service animal users.

    Julie Ann Fooshee (University of Edinburgh)



    Case study: What makes a successful collaborative project bid?

    Chris McCreery sheds light on this significant question by sharing his experience of applying for funding to be a part of UNBOXED: creativity in the UK (formerly known as Festival UK* 2022). Find out how he collaborated with a wide range of stakeholders to develop this bid to deliver Dreamachine, a project inspired by the ground-breaking, illusionary creation of artist-inventor Brion Gysin. Come and gain an insight into this successful funding journey and get inspired for your own future bids.

    Chris McCreery (Northern Ireland Science Festival)


    Case study: Designing with communities

    Organisers of festivals and events occupy a valuable niche as brokers for meaningful relationships between researchers and communities who are often underrepresented in science. But what does it look like to grow that relationship and develop a science engagement project that is tailored to what the audience wants?

    Join Emma Slater, part of the team behind the Great Exhibition Road Festival, to gain an understanding of their journey with a local youth club, exploring the role of co-design, building trust in the longer-term and, of course, how to build an e-scooter from scratch!

    Emma Slater (Imperial College London)


    15.45 (15 minute session)

    And breathe…

    Many of us are very used to the fast-paced world of events. Before the final session of the session of the day, why not take some time to slow-down, unwind and breathe…

    Yoga teacher Lucinda Toole will guide you through a handful of simple exercises that you can use to relax and practice self-care wherever you are. Suitable for complete beginners.

    Lucinda Toole (Yoga Teacher)



    Reflections from UKSFN22 and the road ahead

    For the final session of the day, Katherine Mathieson will be joined by critical friends Eduardo Carvalho and Steve Williams for some honest and open reflections on the conversations, insights and provocations raised throughout the day.  They will delve into the take-home messages from UKSFN22, and explore some of the key challenges and opportunities looking ahead.

    Katherine Mathieson (British Science Association), Eduardo Carvalho (Exhibitions curator & Chevening Clore Leadership Fellow 19/21) and Steve Williams (Oasis Community Centre & Gardens)

    Click here to view the programme as  a PDF.

    Click here to view the UKSFN 2021 infographic.