Festival of Tomorrow returns to Swindon for 2021

By Nick Batten on 22 January, 2021

Swindon’s science and technology event – ‘Festival of Tomorrow’ – is set to return this year with a new array of activities.

The team behind the festival has announced that due to the current lockdown restrictions in place across England, the event, which runs between 19th – 20th February, will be delivered entirely online. Held by STEAM Museum in partnership with New Elements, Festival of Tomorrow will once again be sponsored by Business West.

While the programme is still being kept under wraps, Swindonians can expect the very latest in science and tech, with engineers and researchers from the 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 organisers are now reaching out to businesses, charities and organisations in Swindon and beyond to get involved. One of the first to sign up is Swindon-based UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), which brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. 

Alexis Mannion, Public Engagement Lead at UKRI, explained, “We are living in a rapidly changing world. 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.”

Another exhibitor, Science Rapper, Jon Chase, recently launched a challenge to young people across social media in the lead up to the festival.

Jon said, “We’re challenging Swindon students to tell us what you want science to do for your future. Upload your videos to any social media, with the hashtag #FestivalOfTomorrow and tagging ‘Science Swindon,’ by the 8th February.

The science rapper explained, “You can rap, sing, present, perform a demo or tell a story, on your own or in a group! No Powerpoint allowed, just you and something you’re passionate about! Make sure you get permission to upload to social media, and I’ll be selecting some of my favourites to stream at the festival on 20th February.”

The inaugural festival, held in February last year, 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 that thrilled Swindon’s families with hands-on demonstrations and real-life science and technology. 

The driving force behind the event, Dr Rod Hebden, said, “When STEAM Museum first asked me to create an event for the museum, I jumped at the chance. For me, the Festival of Tomorrow provides a valuable platform to help raise aspirations and awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) career pathways amongst young people in a way that is interesting and engaging by dispelling the myth that scientists are geniuses in white coats, which young people can’t relate to!”

Interested companies should contact: info@scienceswindon.com

Festival information is available at scienceswindon.com, and tickets will go live later this month.

Pictured: (Above) Science Rapper, Jon Chase (Top of page) An exhibition at last year’s festival