Recurring External Events

Here are a number of public engagement events and opportunities (organized externally) that you may wish to be involved with.

You may also find it useful to search through the latest news and views section and calendar. If you are aware of a public engagement opportunity that is not listed, but which UoB researchers can be involved with, let us know so we can list it.

Separate pages have been created for internal events (i.e. either organized internally or for an internal audience) and public engagement training offered by the University.

After an event has taken place it will be archived here.


Below is a list of festivals where public engagement and scicomm (science communication) opportunities may be possible. Many of these events will also offer great opportunities to get inspired by seeing what others are doing.

With many thanks to Dr Gary Kerr for compiling much of this information on his own site. We have added other festivals we are aware of in the list below and will continue to update the list throughout the year. Let us know if we’ve missed any relevant festivals you think should be listed.

Please bear in mind that participation at festivals usually requires an expression of interest/proposal to be submitted many months in advance. Check with festival organizers well in advance if you interested in being involved.


Nottingham Festival of Science & Curiosity

8 – 15 February 2017

Brighton Science Festival

11 – 25 Feb 2017

SMASHfest (London)

13 – 17 Feb 2017

Northern Ireland Science Festival

16 – 26 Feb 2017

Strathearn Festival of Science

Throughtout Feb 2017



Arts & Science Festival (University of Birmingham)

13 -19 March  2017

Hebridean SciTech Festival

info tbc

Ayrshire Science & Engineering Festival

info tbc

Royal Holloway Science Festival

info tbc 2017

Bath Taps into Science

13 – 18 March 2017

Cambridge Science Festival

13 – 26 March 2017

Dunbar SciFest

Date tbc 2017

Your Universe (UCL Festival of Astronomy and Particle Physics)

2 – 4 March 2017

Sheffield Festival of Science & Engineering

Dates 2017 tbc

Southampton Science & Engineering Festival

10 – 18 March 2017

Caithness International Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Bangor Science Festival

10 – 19 March 2017

The Big Bang Fair (Birmingham)

15 – 18 March 2017

Hull Science Festival

2 -4 April 2017

Bristol Neuroscience Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Moray Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Women in Science Festival (Dundee)

4 – 12 March 2017

Leeds Festival of Science

4 – 31 March 2017

Shuffle Festival (London)

Dates 2017 tbc



Edinburgh International Science Festival

1 – 16 April 2017

Maker Faire UK (Newcastle)

1 – 2 April 2017

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

27 – 30 April 2017



Fife Science Festival

2017 dates tbc

Imperial Festival (London)

6 – 7 May 2017

Bollington Festival

Postponed until 2019

Pint of Science

15 – 17 May 2017

Festival of the Sea (Oban)

26 – 28 May 2017

Amazed by Science (Cheshire)

28 May – 5 June 2017

Bridgwater Science Festival

Taking a break in 2017

Dumfries & Galloway Science Festival

24 – 28 April 2017

Scottish Borders Science Festival

Dates May 2017 tbc

Inverness Science Festival

28 April – 12 May 2017

Norwich Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Geronimo Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

‘venturist Festival

Dates 2017 tbc



The Times Cheltenham Science Festival

6 – 11 June 2017

Glasgow Science Festival

8-18 June 2017

Oxfordshire Science Festival

16 – 21 June 2017

Lancashire Science Festival

29 June – 1 July 2017

Bournemouth University Festival of Learning

8 – 12 July 2017

Festival of Nature (Bristol)

8 – 25 June 2017

Middle of Scotland Science Festival (MoSSFest)

Dates 2017 tbc



BlueDot Festival

7 – 9 July 2017

Festival of Learning (Bournemouth)

8 – 12 July 2017

Winchester Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Deer Shed Festival (North Yorkshire)

21 – 23 July 2017

Jimmys Farm Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

Dates 2017 tbc


Running next in 2018?



Electromagnetic Field (Guildford)

Back in 2018

Turing Festival (Edinburgh International Technology Festival)

Dates 2017 tbc

Einstein’s Garden at Green Man Festival (Wales)

17 – 20 August 2017



Orkney International Science Festival

7 – 13 Sept 2017

British Science Festival (Brighton)

5 – 9 Sept 2017

Brighton Digital Festival

15 Sept – 13 Oct 2017

Yorkshire Fossil Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

TechFest (Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire)

Dates 2017 tbc

Bang Goes the Borders

Dates 2017 tbc


Dates 2017 tbc

Gravity Fields (Lincolnshire)

Dates 2017 tbc



Fun Palaces (community-led grassroots arts & science campaign)

7 – 8 Oct 2017

Biology Week

7 – 15 Oct 2017

Sidmouth Science Festival

7 – 15 Oct 2017

Midlothian Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Manchester Science Festival

19 – 29 Oct 2017

Celebrate Science (Durham)

24 – 26 Oct 2017

Celebration of Science (Kensington & Chelsea)

Dates 2017 tbc

London Science Festival

18 – 25 Oct 2017

Dundee Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Bradford Science Festival

Is this still running?



ESRC Festival of Social Science

4 -11 Nov 2017

Being Human (A Festival of Humanities)

17 – 25 Nov 2017

Otley Science Festival

Dates 2017 tbc

Algomech (Festival of Algorithmic and Mechanical Movement) (Sheffield)

Dates 2017 tbc






Understanding Parliamentary Processes

Understanding Parliamentary Processes

Useful Links:

For further information Edward Thomas (Public Affairs Manager) at the University is best placed to guide you on engaging with Parliament in cases where this is appropriate to your research.

E:, T: 0121 414 2950

The Conversation

The Conversation is a new journalism project featuring content from the sharpest academic minds. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.

Several researchers from UoB have written pieces for The Conversation. Editors will work with you to provide advice, but the final say on copy is yours. Get in touch with the Press Office to know more.

You must be a member of an academic or research institution to write for The Conversation.

Research Changes Lives (Oct 27, 2018)

Join Birmingham researchers and staff for a fun and educational event in the heart of the city this Oct 27th, 2018. Take the opportunity to learn more about your own health, the research that takes place and how you or your family can be involved in helping shape this research in the future. Don’t miss the performance of the Voices of Hope choir.

All ages and interests welcome!


For further information contact:

Laura Chapman (NIHR)
NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Patient and Public Involvement/Engagement Manager

Tel:  01213718486
Internal:  18486


Featured Image attribution: Bs0u10e0

Meet the Expert: Thinktank Science Museum

Volunteering at Thinktank

Volunteers at Thinktank give their time to help run events, improve the visitor experience, promote our work and activities, improve our documentation and by doing invaluable research. This is another one of our sites with an incredibly broad range of volunteering opportunities.

If you work in STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) subjects, heritage or culture, and would like to work with us on public engagement activities at Thinktank to share your work or research then perhaps you’ll be interested in finding out more about our “Meet the Expert” programme.

Meet the Expert is a great way to get public engagement experience with children and families in particular. Many of our researchers in Psychology, Biosciences and Engineering have participated at Meet the Expert days. See our case studies section for examples of this.

For more information about how to get involved, get in touch directly with Thinktank.


Cafe Scientifique

Birmingham Cafe Scientifique is run by Thinktank, part of Birmingham Museums Trust.

They are informal and lively discussion events around contemporary science issues. Taking place on the first Tuesday of every month, we feature a variety of local scientists and engineers, talking about their work and how it affects the average person in the street.  Always fun, sometimes controversial, these events are a great way to get to the heart of the matter.

Get in touch if you are interested in being a potential speaker [please bear in mind they will already have speakers programmed months in advance].

Contact: Lynsey Rutter /

Facebook page or search for #brumcafesci on Twitter

The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

Each year over 14,000 members of the public, including 2,500 school students, visit the Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society in London. Many more are reached through coverage on TV, in the media and online.

Among other great reasons to exhibit, the exhibition provides a unique opportunity to raise the profile of your research and institution with key influencers, including potential funders, government and the public. We welcome proposals from researchers in academia, industry and in between, as long as the project lead is UK-based.

The exhibition will take place next year from 2 – 8 July. The call for proposals for next year’s exhibition is now open and closes 1 September 2017.

Details: HERE

Flatpack Film Festival

Flatpack is a festival which takes over venues across Birmingham every spring. It draws people from far and wide with a mixture of films, performances, contraptions and surprises, and has been described as “magnificently eclectic” (Time Out), “joyously inventive” (the Guardian) and “the UK’s most creatively curated film festival” (the Independent).

But Flatpack is not just a festival – it’s also a state of mind. Actually, that’s overstating it, but it’s not confined to one time or place. The annual event was spawned from the year-round antics of 7 Inch Cinema, originally a mixed-media filmnight at the Rainbow pub in Digbeth. This grew to embrace inflatable cinema-tents, archive detective-work and DVD compilations, and ten years on we continue to produce our own projects and provide guest programming for others throughout the year.

The kind of work we put on depends upon the project, but recurring themes include animation, music, artists’ film, archive discoveries, offbeat shorts for kids and live cinema. We are firm believers in creating a sense of occasion, exploring the fertile territory where film bumps up against other artforms, and showing people things they might not otherwise have seen.

For more information:


The Public Engagement with Research Committee has supported a few previous Flatpack events involving University of Birmingham researchers. This includes some of the activities that were part of Cafe Neuro and Things That Go Pop.


Images: Things That Go Pop event involving UoB Chemists and Historians



fizzPOP Maker Space

Described as the workshop of your dreams, fizzPOP is a member-run, member-funded and member-led workshop & studio where Birmingham’s maker community meets to share knowledge, tools and creativity.

Members have 24/7 access to the space to work on their projects, but fizzPOP is not just for the benefit of its members. Open evenings are held every Wednesday from 7pm, where members and non-members alike can work on their projects, talk to like-minded people and get a feel for what a Makerspace is all about.

fizzPOP also gives makers the opportunity to work together on joint projects for various local good causes and businesses. Whether you’re interested in crafting, electronics, woodwork, metalwork, sewing, programming, prototyping, CNC, robotics, or nearly anything else, you can have access to the kind of tools that you would not normally have in your spare room or shed.

fizzPOP might be a place to consider if you are planning on designing or working on an innovate DIY public engagement project…

Find out more on their Get Involved page.


The Big Bang Fair

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK.


The Big Bang Fair is an award-winning combination of exciting theatre shows, interactive workshops and exhibits and careers information from STEM professionals. The event takes place at The NEC, Birmingham.

The fair aims to show young people (primarily aged 7-19) the exciting and rewarding opportunities out there for them with the right experience and qualifications, by bringing classroom learning to life.

Having grown from 6,500 visitors in its first year (2009) to over 70,000 in 2016, The Big Bang Fair is made possible thanks to the collaborative efforts of over 200 organisations.

For general queries, please contact:

Run an activity [There is a cost to exhibiting at the fair]


Read about Rachel’s experience volunteering at the festival


Being Human: Festival of Humanities

Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human is a national forum for public engagement with humanities research. The festival highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich our everyday lives, help us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world.

Sign up to our mailing list to receive the call for participation.

Twitter @BeingHumanFest

[Image: Being Human Festival]

Fun Palaces

Fun Palaces is both an ongoing campaign for culture by, for and with all, and also an annual weekend of events, where arts and sciences are a vital catalyst for community engagement and full participation for everyone, from the grassroots up.

The weekend event takes place in October each year. Check the website for information about this year’s event and you can get involved.



Science Showoff

Science Showoff is an open mic night for scientists, science communicators, science teachers, historians and philosophers of science, students, science popularisers and anyone else with something to show off about science.

Fort more information:




When and where does it happen?

At least once a month in London, and also all over the country, usually starting at 7pm. The first gig was on October 4th, 2011.

What happens on the night?

We start at 7.30, with an introduction from compere Steve Cross, and the night runs in two halves, each an hour long. The signed-up performers take to the stage to show off their science. They might:

Show a film they just made
Try out a new demo
Practice a new science comedy set
Tell us about their new discovery
Perform an 9-minute play about science
Play their new song about protons
Tell us what they’ve been up to
Predict the future
Give us a taster of their science-themed Edinburgh show
Read us their latest science poem
Try out a bit of a new science lesson on us
Play us a short radio documentary
Experiment on the crowd
Read us a blogpost
Perform an interpretive dance about science

Or anything else…

Every set lasts 9 minutes or less. There’s a 20 minute intermission and we finish by 10pm, to give us an hour of picking each other’s brains over beer and to form new plans and partnerships before closing time.

Is there money involved?

No-one gets paid. We sell tickets and all proceeds go to a charity, chosen for that month’s gig.

I want you to come to my town / organise a gig with my conference

Brilliant. We’d love to. We’ve gigged at the British Science Festival, Manchester Science Festival, The Green Man Festival, the Cardiff Science Festival, with the British Science Association Science Communication Conference, SpotOn London, Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Epic Encounters Season and loads more!

We’ll need you to find someone who will pay for our trainfares and hotels, though. Email us to find out more.

Sometimes you post ‘SIGNUP TO PERFORM’. How does that work?

For these gigs we publish an online sign-up sheet. The first people to sign up are guaranteed slots of up to 9 minutes on the night to do whatever they like as long as it has a science flavour. The organisers hold a few slots for invited guests.


ESRC Festival of Social Science

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is a week-long celebration of the social sciences and social science research. We currently expect the call for applications to participate will be launched in March 2017, with the festival being held 4-11 November.

If you have any queries please email


Please note: The College of Social Sciences (CoSS) typically coordinates University of Birmingham participation. So it is worth contacting this College once the call out for proposals is open to see how they might support you to be involved.

Image: Pro-Vice Chancellor Saul Becker, Head of the College of Social Sciences


British Science Festival

The British Science Festival is Europe’s longest-standing national event which connects people with scientists, engineers, technologists and social scientists.

Tens of thousands of people come together to celebrate the latest developments in science and to engage in open discussion about issues that affect our culture and society.Each September the British Science Festival transforms a different UK city into a vibrant celebration of science, engineering and technology.

In 2014 The University of Birmingham hosted the festival on campus.

For more information about how to get involved in the next festival visit the website.

BSF needs your help to curate a vibrant programme of events! Nominations for the annual Award Lectures and the call for proposals for the British Science Festival 2017 are now open. Please click on the links below to find out more:

Propose an event
Nominate an Award Lecture

Birmingham Open Media (BOM)

BOM is forging a new model of radical practice at the intersection of art, technology & science with measurable social impact. By making sustained investment in a community of Fellows and developing strategic partnerships, BOM tests pioneering ideas that investigate the transformative value of the arts across education, health and society.

The Public Engagement with Research Committee has cultivated a special relationship with BOM since it’s opening in 2015 and we have been working with them to support creative research-led public engagement activity. See our case studies section for examples of this.

We have hosted events and training at BOM and the intention is to do even more work together in future.

For more information:



We will also update this page with any specific events we have planned with BOM so check out our events pages and calendar.


Pro-Vice Chancellor Tim Softley and Professor Bryan Turner with Louise Latter and Karen Newman from BOM.

Black Hole Club

Vivid Projects is a curator-led art space exploring all forms of media arts practice, including moving image, performance, digital and interdisciplinary artistic research. Founded by Director/Curator Yasmeen Baig-Clifford in 2012, Vivid Projects runs an ambitious programme of exhibitions and events.

Associate Curator  Antonio Roberts, leads the artist development programme ‘Black Hole Club’.

The Black Hole Club is Vivid Projects’s membership programme for creative people – artists, designers, curators and writers and more – in the West Midlands to share and test ideas. Members will receive support in developing their practice and will be encouraged to explore new areas, including but not limited to digital art, live performance, experimental audio, film and video, animation and computer-generated art.

It could be an ideal opportunity to trial some creative forms of public engagement which is why we have included it on our list!

Black Hole Club 2017 runs from 1 March until 31 December. Membership costs £7 per month. Interested in membership? email for an application form or to chat. 


TEDxBrum is an independently organised and volunteer led event, proudly based in our home city of Birmingham.

In conjunction with a global initiative to spread ideas further, the TEDx program was born in 2009 to enable individuals and communities worldwide to hold locally relevant and independent events. As part of the global TEDx community spanning over 150 countries, TEDxBrum is Birmingham’s very own platform for ideas worth spreading.

For more information about the next event



MathsJam Birmingham

MathsJam is a monthly opportunity for like-minded self-confessed maths enthusiasts to get together in a pub and share stuff they like. Puzzles, games, problems, or just anything they think is cool or interesting.

The group meet on the second to last Tuesday of every month, from 7pm in the evening. Events happen simultaneously in locations around the UK (and the world!)

The Birmingham group meet on the second to last Tuesday of every month, from 7pm in the evening, at The Old Joint Stock, on Temple Row West (near the cathedral).


For more information visit the website, and to be added to our mailing list so we can remind you when each event is happening, email Becky at

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha is an international network of events originating at an architecture firm in Tokyo in 2003. The format is designed to stop waffling and tedious PowerPoint and encourage creativity and playfulness. You never know what to expect at a PK night and that’s the beauty of them.

Anyone with an interesting idea or passion can present, and we’re very keen to hear from first time speakers. We’ll even help you prepare your talk and get over the nerves! If you’d like to speak at a future PK Brum, fill in this form with a vague outline of your subject and we’ll be in touch!

PK Birmingham is run on a strictly non-profit basis with all funds being used to promote and run future events, and to buy the speakers a drink!

For more info:

Twitter is @pechakucha_brum and you can find them on Facebook too.

PubhD Birmingham

PubhD is a public speaking event set in the friendly (and familiar!) surroundings of the pub. It all began in Nottingham in January 2014 and soon spread to other cities across the UK and Europe – and now it has finally arrived in Brum!

How it works:

At each event, 3 speakers will talk about their research in the relaxed surroundings of the pub. The format on the night is simple:

  • Each speaker will each have just 10 minutes to present their research at “pub-level’ – no jargon allowed!

  • Afterwards there’s up to 20 minutes for an informal Q&A session with the audience

  • Speakers are only allowed a whiteboard and whatever props they can gather to present their work!

  • At the end, each speaker will be rewarded with a pint (or other drink) of their choice!

On the night, we ask for a donation of £1 per audience member to help fund future events and allow our three speakers the free drink they have earned!

We invite researchers from all over the area to come and join us! If you are interested in being involved or want to know more, get in touch by registering your interest online here.



Skeptics in the Pub

Skeptics in the Pub (SitP) exists to provide an opportunity for people who are interested in science, skepticism, rationalism, critical thinking to socialise and discuss matters of interest. Each month they invite someone to come and speak to them, and if there’s someone you’d like to hear or if you’d like to put yourself forward as a potential speaker, get in touch!


Birmingham Skeptics Own Web Page

SitP Birmingham page on Facebook

Birmingham Skeptics Podcast


[Image: Skeptics in the Pub].