The ninth edition of Science in the City Festival 2020 (SitC) will be like nothing before, as it aims to engage audiences in new ways, empower them with critical yet creative thinking and enable them to become active citizens straight from the safety of their own home.
This was announced by the organisers on 2 November during an online live-stream press conference, during which they published the pre-event calendar and the official programme of the festival.
The extended festival will span from Thursday 12 to Sunday 29 November, featuring exciting pre-festival events aired across Science in the City’s social media from 12 to 26 November, as a prequel to the digital event over the whole weekend from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 November.
The press conference was presented by the Festival Coordinator Dr Edward Duca, PBS CEO Mr Charles Dalli, University of Malta Pro-Rector Professor Saviour Zammit, TrustStamp CEO Mr Gareth Genner, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy, Hon. Clayton Bartolo, and scientist and festival collaborator, Alina Ivan.
There will be even more ways to enjoy this year’s festival.
From the 12 - 26 November, there will be a range of exciting Pre-Festival events for the whole family to enjoy. In Malta’s very first online escape room, created by GreenHouse and BiOrbic, the audience gets to help researchers solve clues and puzzles that might save the world from the devastating effects of climate change.
CineXjenza will be hosting a series of movies that tackle topics from ageing to mental health and there will even be the opportunity to join in on live discussions by experts in these fields. Audiences get the chance to experience something a little more dark, by delving into a world that is ‘trapped between mirrors’. The Mirror Trap gives the opportunity to the brave participants to discuss with researchers and the creator of the chilling experience they have endured. Science in the City has made sure there is something for everyone.
For the weekend of the festival, organisers are preparing a three day online live stream and an array of pre-recorded activities. The live stream will feature special theatre performances by artists such as Angele Galea in “Jumping Genes”, tackling issues women face in their STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers, as well as domestic violence, all based on true stories and actual research.
Alina Ivan will be showcasing her piece, “Feedback Loops”, looking into how wearable technology can track changes in the body related to depression, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Ms Ivan hopes “the performance will increase audiences' understanding of these three conditions. A lot of symptoms of mental and physical health conditions are invisible, and we believe that dance, music and physiological data have the potential to reveal what is often hard to put into words.”
Malcolm Galea will be journeying into the future and contemplating how the concept of humanity may have changed. These pieces set the tone for the Festival’s characteristic blend of science and the arts, where there will be the opportunity for audiences to chat to the performers, listen to researchers discuss the science behind them and ask lots of questions. If this is not enough, then in addition to the interactive online festival where participants can engage in discussions with experts and researchers, the Science in the City website will have lots of other fun videos and activities for its audiences.
The digital version of Science in the City aims to bring audience members together and closer to the scientific world, from the comfort and safety of their homes across Malta and beyond.
Dr Edward Duca commented that “this year’s festival is jam-packed with activities and events. We decided to cancel the physical event due to the current Covid-19 situation but we have toiled to make this renowned festival a digital one. Now, we just want to share this enthusiasm and excitement with all of you.”
Ms Alina Ivan said, “Now that the festival has been moved online, we are excited by the possibility to reach international audiences and start important conversations about wellbeing and mental health as part of the panel discussions."
To start planning your festival experience, it is definitely worth visiting Science in the City’s website for what will be a memorable month ahead.
Science in the City is part of the European Researchers’ Night, an EU-wide celebration. It has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (under grant agreement No 955263), and a number of corporate sponsors. It is recognised as a festival by Europe for Festivals and Festivals for Europe (EFFE).
The Science in the City consortium is led by the University of Malta and the Malta Chamber of Scientists, in partnership with the the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy, TrustStamp, Malta Enterprise, MCAST, Greenhouse, Qualia Analytics, Esplora, BPC International, MEUSAC, PBS, Spazju Kreattiv, Aquabiotech, The Environment Resource Agency, Energy Water Agency, Malta Council for the Voluntary Services, More or Less Theatre, Storm Design and Kreattiv of the Malta Arts Council.