Glasgow Science Festival bounces back with ‘Science on the Sofa’

Published: 10 September 2020

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Three months after the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation, this year’s Glasgow Science Festival is bouncing back online. 

‘Science on the Sofa’, which kicked off on Wednesday 9th September, aims to bring the fun of the Glasgow Science Festival home with 70 pieces of all-new content, including live and pre-recorded events suitable for science enthusiasts of all ages. 

A series of live attractions including a pub quiz, a cardboard robot building workshop, virtual shows from the Glasgow Science Centre and a science-themed variety performance will run between 9th September and 13th September on platforms including Zoom, Facebook and Twitter. 

Many more events - including online versions of many of the activities, shows and talks which were due to be held during the festival in June - will be available on the festival’s website until 9th November to help people to enjoy the programme at their own pace. 

Website visitors can watch videos, read articles, make educational arts and crafts projects and do their own science experiments with expert help from volunteers from local universities, commercial partners and charities. 

The festival’s organisers have also arranged an entirely new series focused on how Glasgow-based scientists have responded to the challenges of COVID-19. Academics and medics will present a series of videos on how they are contributing to efforts to combat the pandemic, from manufacturing PPE for frontline workers to developing potential vaccines to setting up the Lighthouse Lab for infection testing and more. 

Dr Deborah McNeill, director of the Glasgow Science Festival, said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring the Glasgow Science Festival back with a really exciting online programme. Dr Deborah McNeill 650

“Last year’s festival attracted 60,000 visitors to events held at 26 venues across the city, and we had a fantastic series of events lined up for this year. It was heartbreaking to have to cancel it, but we’ve been thrilled by how many of the people behind this year’s events have been willing to help us put them online instead. 

“They’ve been working incredibly hard in their own time to make their own content about a huge range of topics. The passion that everyone has brought to their projects really shines through, even if the homemade nature of some of them means that they’re not completely polished in their presentation. 

“We’re so grateful for all the help we’ve received to get the festival back up and running. We’re really looking forward to giving people the chance to participate in our live events between the 9th and 13th September and explore everything else we have to offer over the next couple of months.” 

Some of the highlights of the Science on the Sofa programme include: 

  • Five Glasgow Science Centre at Home shows covering a range of fun science topics, running each day from 9th-13th September on Facebook Premiere
  • An online version of the festival’s popular family day events, offering CSI Whodunnits to solve at home, advice on how to make edible ‘cells’ and cross-stitch models of parasites, and a wide range of activities from the from the organisers of the Glasgow Science Festival
  • A Facebook Premier workshop to build a cereal box robot, supported by BOOM Community Arts
  • A Facebook Live discussion with Olive Grove Records’ owner and artists about adapting to the new normal, along with some live performance
  • Vitamin Sea: citizen science projects which can be done on the beach or or along the coast
  • Video from the Science is a Drag variety show video, strictly for adults only!

Science on the Sofa events, workshops and videos will be accessible on the Glasgow Science Festival website at from Wednesday, 9 September. Funding for the Glasgow Science Festival comes from the Scottish Government and the University of Glasgow.


First published: 10 September 2020