The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Science in the City 2021 will take place in a hybrid format

Tuesday, 24 August 2021, 17:28 Last update: about 6 months ago

Science in the City Festival 2021 will once again be undergoing a complete overhaul, bringing an action-packed hybrid festival on the 24th and 25th September. 

The festival that graced the streets of Valletta on an annual basis is moving into theatres around the city, while retaining the virtual presence it established in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The hybrid festival hopes to reach both old and new audiences with an innovative programme celebrating science and arts. In the run up to this year's festival there will be a thrilling series of pre-festival events, with the programme launched on the 2nd September celebrating science and arts.

The festival aims to engage people of all walks of life with science, research and innovation through the arts. 'Sowing Seeds', the theme for this year's festival, is born of a strong desire to live in a country that respects its natural heritage. It focuses on empowering audiences with opportunities to think critically, while inspiring creativity and the desire to take action, no matter how small, to improve the world we live in. 

This was announced at the University of Malta, by the organisers during the press conference that launched the pre-festival and official programme of the 2021 festival. Dr Edward Duca commented that "this year's hybrid festival is packed with activities and events that are adapted for these changing times. My main objective is to create a culture of public engagement with research, science, and to involve all parts of society. We can't wait to share with you what we have prepared and worked on during these past few months." 

University Pro-Rector for Student & Staff Affairs and Outreach, Prof. Carmen Sammut said, "Science in the City is one of the important outreach events on the University calendar and public response is always positive and inspiring. The University is committed to promote sciences across all sections of society and among under-represented groups. We are particularly active in the promotion of STEM careers among girls. Moreover, we are also committed to involve the arts and humanities given the spread of interdisciplinary approaches."

The 2021 Pre-Festival programme boasts events for the whole family to enjoy. Last year's successful escape room is back, only better. Created by GreenHouse and the research centre BiOrbic, the audience will need to help researchers unravel the clues and puzzles to save the world from the devastating effects of climate change. CineXjenza will host three local and international movies followed by discussions with directors and researchers. Moreover, Trust Stamp Malta has launched a challenge for teens to "hack'' their facial recognition system; the masks created by these teens with the help of artist Liliana Fleri Soler will be exhibited at the festival. 

During the Press conference, Hon Minister Owen Bonnici highlighted that "There is widespread agreement, as confirmed also by the post-COVID strategy, that Research and Innovation are crucial for a better Malta, both in terms of socioeconomic wellbeing and economic resilience. This festival is a great way to educate and raise awareness about those important pillars of the future amongst the general public. The Government is committed to embark in further outreach efforts in the communities, as the Ministry has been doing since it was established in November 2020."

On the last weekend in September, the festival team will host the physical and digital event simultaneously. The science-inspired programme, supported by researchers from a large selection of fields, includes The Time Travellers' Dilemma installation by Glen Calleja's Solid Eye, and a music performance by award-winning British comedy-science-singer-songwriter John Hinton in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta whose selection of songs will resonate with the festival's theme of 'Sowing Seeds'. Actors Jeremy Grech and Sean Briffa present 'The Adventures of the Ammoknights: Moving Megaliths', a creative performance-tour around Malta's cultural heritage. Environment and Resource Authority's collaboration with More or less Theatre brings a fascinating puppet show, 'Ċlikki's wild adventure: The Long Flutter Home', which follows butterfly's adventure though the countryside highlighting the importance of Malta's biodiversity along the way. While a new festival addition called the Game of Talents will show off Malta's researchers, such as food scientist Dr Sholeem Griffin and neuroscientist Dr Claude Bajada participants will have to guess their profession with very little clues to go on.  

The interactive, online festival will offer a platform from which the audience can watch and participate in experiments, games, quizzes, plays, puppet shows, discussions with Malta's researchers and students. The digital version of Science in the City will bring viewers in direct contact with the latest in science, technology, research and innovation, from the comfort of their homes.  

Leanne Attard, a computer vision engineer at Trust Stamp, commented that, "Empowering individual advancement is a key principle at Trust Stamp. We are supporting the festival with this year's theme of Sowing Seeds to encourage this concept. Individuals should be supported to take an active role in shaping their own future in various disciplines and we believe that careers in STEM should be accessible to everyone without any distinctions."  

The festival has been carefully planned to ensure visitors, staff and volunteers can experience the event in a safe manner. Real world events will be seated affairs, with all the health and safety measures implemented at all times. For this reason, audience numbers will be restricted so do book early to ensure you do not miss out on this unique experience. Follow the updates on the Science in the City website and social media. 

Science in the City is part of the European Researchers' Night, an EU-wide celebration. It is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under grant agreement No 101036030, Arts Council Malta (ACM) and a number of corporate sponsors. It is recognised 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 Minister for Equality, Research, and Innovation, Trust Stamp Ltd, Malta Enterprise, MCAST, Qualia Analytics, Esplora, BPC International, SEM, PBS, Spazju Kreattiv,, Aquabiotech, Valletta Design Cluster, Valletta Cultural Agency, The Environment Resource Agency, WasteServ, More or Less Theatre and Keen Ltd. 


For regular updates please follow the festival's Facebook page: | Twitter: @SciCityMalta | Instagram: @scicitymalta | LinkedIN: science-in-the-city-malta | Website:  



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