MY IF FESTIVAL – What will yours be? Team Science Oxford get ready to go…

There’s only a week to go until IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival serves up over one hundred thought-provoking bespoke happenings with a science riff all over the city, from shopping centres to gyms, libraries to colleges, churches to streetside.

Celebrating its 25th year – preloved as the Oxfordshire Science Festival but upcycled to IF – with the most ambitious and diverse programme yet, expect a gourmet science-fusion mash up of artists, writers, dancers, poets, athletes, rappers, foodies and even a Hollywood Blockbuster movie – mixed together with cutting-edge research and the latest advances in technology. Science Oxford is associate partner of the festival and our team is getting ready to take part .. here’s what they’ll be getting up to.

1 – Explorazone, Oxford Town Hall (13 & 14 October) with Bridget Holligan, Director of Education and Engagement

“I’ll be at Explorazone over the weekend – supporting our outreach team who will also be at the evening Adults Only Explorazone. We’ve decided to take some ‘Hands-on, Minds-on’ activities that will be featured in our new Science Oxford Centre opening next year at Stansfeld Park. Most will be puzzles and games that are part of Mike’s ‘Maths Carousel’ for schools. Our ‘Domino Circuits’, ‘Packing Crate Puzzle’, ‘Tower of Hanoi’ and ‘Build a Graph’ are all proto-type exhibits that we are working on for the new centre.

I’m also taking my family to see 8 Minutes at Oxford Playhouse on Saturday night (13 Oct) – I love events which are inspired by science or science imagery and use them to create innovative performance.

What IF (19 Oct) also caught my eye because I love hip hop and spoken word, and Science in the Field because I love engaging personal stories and anything that gives an insight into the human dimension of science.”

2 – CSI Oxford – Forensic Challenge, New Road Baptist Church (15 Oct) with Events Team Luiza Patorski & Rowena Fletcher-Wood

Rowena and Luiza have created and will be running an interactive forensic challenge in the Baptist Church on Bonn Square; an energetic hands- on experience where you get to discover the crime, collect evidence samples and perform lab tests to work out who-dunnit – it’s not as easy as you might think!

As for the rest of the festival, Luiza recommends Unkindest Cut, Bonn Square 17-21 Oct, a performance piece interweaving classical Indian dance, spoken word and film with an interactive light and sound installation exploring the complex issues around young people and mental health. “I went along in 2016 to Bournemouth and watched the performance sitting cross-legged in the shipping container, it was an experience that has stayed with me .. I’m looking forward to going and meeting the creators again!” (Book here)

Rowena is looking forward to From grain to glass: the science of distilling… (Old Artisan Distillery, 16 Oct) “Having been up to TOAD and sampled their gins… And vodkas… And whiskies… And – we’re getting sidetracked here… they put on a great event. Not only is their stuff good, but TOAD is full of stories, from the creation of their steam-engine-inspired still (but not actual steam engine, because it turns out steam engines are full of arsenic which is, well, not an idea ingredient for gin) to the science of botany, their partnership with the botanic garden and the creation of the physic’s gin. They might call themselves master distillers, but they should say master story weavers too.”

3 – Planetarium, Science at the Shops, Tempars Square Shopping Centre (20 Oct) – Ian Snell, Education Officer

Our schools outreach whizz Ian will be reaching for the stars and taking families and children on an intergalactic journey far beyond the walls of the shopping centre. Experience the stars in an immersive show that tells ancient star tales as well as pointing out constellations that you can spot in the night sky this autumn. Look out for our Planetarium tour around Oxfordshire schools this November.

Ian says “I’m also looking forward to our Science Cabaret (Wig & Pen, 18 Oct) as listening to other people having fun talking about science is just the kind of thing to relax to after a hard day talking about science.”

4 – Black Panther, Blackbird Leys Community Centre (22 Oct) Getting the science right in the movies (3.15PM) with Noelle Aly, Tech Officer

The community centre turns into Wakanda for the day with activities and workshops exploring the science and ideas from the blockbuster film. Noelle will be speaking about her experience as a science consultant for the movie Black Panther! She was asked to fly out and consult with screenwriters in LA as part of her work with a Science and Entertainment Exchange programme, just as Joe Robert Cole’s director debut was announced to quite a buzz! She particularly advised on 3D printing, so she guessed that would feature in the film. You can catch Noelle in the Glow Hall at 3.15pm – and with her passion for movies and Gameing she’s really looking forward to seeing the Science of Screen Fighting with Jon Xue Zhang with Marvin Wamwe at 2pm on the same day.

What will you see?

For more visit www.if-oxford.com