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Bradford Science Festival programme and sponsors announced

The National Science and Media Museum is pleased to announce the programme, major partner, and sponsors for this year’s Bradford Science Festival.

This year’s festival will take place during October half term (23–31 October 2021), with events and activities at the National Science and Media Museum and partner venues across the city. It has also been announced that PPG, global supplier of paints, coatings, and specialty materials, will return as this year’s Major Partner after partnering with the festival in 2020. Other sponsors include The University of Bradford, The Broadway, and Bradford BID.

The festival will be themed around four different zones exploring the Science of Sound; Science Saving the World; Brad Lab; and STEM City.

The Science of Sound will link into the museum’s current Sound Season exhibitions, giving visitors the chance to uncover how sound technologies work, as well as what it takes to record and make music. Science Saving the World will look at climate change solutions, how we can better look after the environment and be more sustainable. This zone will include local initiatives and organisations that promote sustainability and the environment and how families can get involved. Brad Lab will showcase the inspiring science happening in Bradford and how this affects our everyday lives, and finally, in STEM City visitors can learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths from the members of the museum’s STEM Ambassador Hub Trans Pennine. Families will also have a chance to meet people working in STEM and discover routes into these careers for the future.   

Vicky Clifton, Head of Learning at the National Science and Media Museum, said:

“We are so excited to be bringing back Bradford Science Festival this October. Last year’s festival had a slightly different look to usual to account for the latest safety measures, so it’s really wonderful to be getting the festival back out into the city and to be working alongside some wonderful community venues, and even showcasing amazing light and sound displays in City Park, and a life-size killer whale in The Broadway.  

“We’re also delighted to welcome PPG on board, who are returning as our Major Partner, as well as our sponsors The University of Bradford, The Broadway and Bradford BID. This year’s festival explores some really important themes such as sustainability and the environment, careers in STEM, and the fantastic science innovation happening right here in our District. We will also be debuting the theme of sound to tie into our exciting new exhibitions Sonic: Adventures in Audio and Boom: Experiments in Sound, these are the museum’s first exhibitions to focus on sound, giving visitors an opportunity to uncover how sound shapes our lives and the fascinating science that underpins this invisible phenomenon.” 

Live highlights of this year’s festival will include shows from Science Made Simple, including Music to Your Ears, where families can discover how our ears pick up sound and have a go at unusual ways of making sound and music, including the ultimate ‘hands-free’ instrument and one that can be played with a blowtorch. They will also be performing The XX Factor science show, where participants can meet amazing women from history who were pioneers in STEM but are mostly unheard of despite their achievements. Visitors can discover the groundbreaking work they did and meet the modern-day equivalents they inspired, with exciting demonstrations along the way.

The festival will also welcome Dan Fox, sound artist, musician and installation creator. Dan will be showcasing two of his installations, the Thunder Sheet and Chladni Plate. Participants can hear amazing thunderous noises as sounds are played through this large metal plate, and then see how the Chladni Plate can create beautiful sand patterns that move and change using vibrations.

Throughout the festival families can take part in the LEGO® Technic™ Let’s Move It! challenge. LEGO and Volvo have challenged groups from around the world to move a 45-tonne Volvo A60H hauler 50 metres using only LEGO® Technic™ and Control+ technology. Visitors can come along to STEM City and find out if they managed it and have a go at a LEGO® challenge.  

Outside the museum, the festival will be stepping into the city with two special light and sound displays in City Park on Saturday 23 October 2021. Dan Fox will be showcasing the Luminosi Tree, an impressive six-metre-high tree-like sound and light sculpture controlled by the wind. As the listener wanders underneath, the directional sound and changing resonances surround the listener in an evolving and meditative sound bath that responds to the environment.  

Visitors can also experience Illumaphonium, a dynamic and interactive, multisensory music-making installation. Created by musician and inventor Michael Davis, the multi-player musical sculpture stands over three and a half metres tall with more than a hundred illuminated chime bars. Each bar responds to touch, with ever-changing patterns of light and sound spreading out like waves over the giant instrument’s surface, bringing people together in a fun and spontaneous music-making experience. 

The festival will also be joining forces with The Broadway on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 October 2021 to welcome Incredible Oceans who will be bringing their 10-metre-long life-size inflatable orca and OceanDome, where participants can take part in hands-on workshops about ocean acoustics, climate change, plastics, and all things under the sea. 

Visitors to the festival can also take part in a special Pumpkin Trail around the city. In partnership with Bradford BID, the public can go in search of pumpkin sculptures at various locations, with the theme of this year’s sculptures being climate and the environment.

There will also be activities taking place at community venues, including Shine, based at St Stephen’s Church in West Bowling, on Tuesday 26 October 2021 and Laisterdyke Library on Thursday 28 October 2021. Visitors can take part in workshops and demonstrations with Noisy Toys and Impact Gamers, as well as meeting ELI:24, a robot made from recycled materials. 

More information about Bradford Science Festival will be made available soon, including further programme announcements and ticket information. Sign up to the museum newsletter for the latest updates. 

You can also follow festival updates on the National Science and Media Museum’s website, and on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.



For further information, images or interview requests, please contact Katie Canning, Communications Manager, National Science and Media Museum: / 01274 203 027

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

Bradford Science Festival major partner

Bradford Science Festival sponsors