Festivals are a wonderful place to start. They have large audiences of enthusiastic people already signed up and you can expect a busy day talking to people who are interested in your work. Your stand can be as fancy and slick as you like, but it is possible to do some great engagement with only a small investment of time and money.
Keep it simple and interactive. Plan to cover a table or two with things children can get their hands on. With young families, although the child will be the focus, you are often talking to the parents through the interaction with the child. Keep the kids fascinated and you can engage with the parent!
Science festivals are often full of families and schools keen to discover science. They can attract either local audiences or have a wider draw. Some festivals attract people with different interests. There is a UK map of Science Festivals if you want to explore more widely.
In recent years, groups from across Medical Sciences have visited the following festivals.
- The Brighton Science Festival – Hands on Half-Term – Usually in February in Brighton – School age and families.
- The Headington Festival – usually held in the Knowle Bury Park in early June – Headington residents.
- The ATOM Festival – usually held in Abingdon during June – Abingdon residents.
- Cheltenham Science Festival – usually held in mid-June – schools and science lovers.
- Glastonbury, Green Future Field – usually held in late June – music lovers.
- Innovate Malvern – usually held in late June – science interested Malvern residents.
- The Big Bang Festival – usually held in late June, recent years have taken place at the NEC Birmingham – lots of schools from across the UK and families.
- Royal Society Summer Exhibition – usually held in London in early July – Schools, Science lovers and policy makers.
- The Greenman Festival has an Einstein’s Garden in August. The festival has music, comedy, film and more to attract a diverse range of audiences.
- Oxford Open Doors – Locals exploring Oxford and keen to pass through normally closed doors.
- Oxford Fun Palace – held on the first Saturday of October, attracting young families, often people who might not be so attracted to a science themed festival. Contact Beth Sedgwick at the Oxford Playhouse.
- The Ideas Festival – usually held in Oxford during October – Families and people interested in science.
- Chelmsford Science Festival – Held in Oct 2022 in Chelmsford. Expressions of interest invited in early June.
- Pint of science is an annual festival with talks, art, podcasts, and blogs.
- The Being Human Festival might be an opportunity to collaborate with members of the Medical Humanities in Oxford.