A hugely successful Swindon science and technology festival will return next year.
Festival of Tomorrow is held at Steam - the Museum of the Great Western Railway - in partnership with New Elements.
The first was held in February, and the organisers have responded to the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions by creating what is billed an exciting mix of physical, online and blended activities to reach even more people.
Although the festival won’t be able to welcome large crowds into Steam this time, it will use the opportunity to bring the excitement of the event to people across Swindon through a virtual event online and smaller-scale activities at Steam, around the town centre and in schools.
The organisers are now reaching out to businesses, charities and organisations in Swindon and beyond to get involved, and one of the first to sign up was Swindon-based UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), which brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
“We are living in a rapidly changing world,” explained Alexis Mannion, Public Engagement Lead at UKRI.
“The Festival of Tomorrow gives us the chance to share with our local communities, as well as audiences further afield, the knowledge and innovation which will shape the UK’s choices.
“UKRI supports UK researchers to push the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding so that we can all have the opportunity to shape the future for the better.”
The programme is still being kept under wraps, but the organisers say Swindonians can expect the very latest in science and tech, with engineers and researchers from leading companies, universities and institutions covering everything from the future of food and medicine to the latest on Artificial Intelligence and the fight to tackle climate change.
The inaugural festival was so successful that exhibitor slots were oversubscribed, and advance tickets sold out. Intel, Oxford University and the Science Museum Group were among the big names which enticed visitors with hands-on demonstrations and real-life science and technology.
Coun Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, said: “Swindon's first Festival of Tomorrow was one of the stand-out successes in our approach of trying different ideas and events to engage families with science, technology and innovation.
“COVID has really affected the organisation of large events but the vaccine is the perfect example of science overcoming challenges.
“The Festival of Tomorrow is designed to inspire Swindon's next generation of engineers, scientists, and biologists, and help children and young people develop their knowledge and skills, while having fun.
"The event will also help to highlight the growing number of career opportunities and pathways for young people which are available to them.”
Interested companies should email firstname.lastname@example.org