FUTURES Festival set to return in 2024 and 2025

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement

The Public Engagement Unit are thrilled to share the news that the South West's largest celebration of research, the FUTURES Festival, has secured funding to deliver the festival for the next two years.

Largest investment yet

The FUTURES Festival, a public engagement collaboration between the region's five universities—Bath Spa University, the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter, and Plymouth University - has been awarded its largest grant yet by the European Commission, some €781,000 (£668,188) to deliver the festival each autumn for the next two years.

Commenting on the news the University of Bath's Vice-President (External Affairs) Corinne Evans said

This is fantastic news and a testament to the strength of the partnership built up over the last six years between the region's leading universities. There are some great events coming up over the next two years for people to discover more about how research is working to help tackle some of today's biggest challenges.

Bringing research to life

FUTURES is a festival that takes research to the people, bringing science, culture and research to life in new and exciting ways.

Over the next two years, the University of Bath's Public Engagement Unit team will work with colleagues from across the consortium universities to devise and deliver activities in rural areas of Devon and Cornwall and the major cities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, and Plymouth.

The FUTURES Festival will bring together science and the arts to create an exciting programme of events. Researchers will share their work in shopping centres, churches, pubs, beaches, theatres, and town halls and take to the airwaves and go online.

Highlights of the programme will see researchers take over some of the region's leading museums with hands-on interactive activities, take visitors to Bath on an immersive digital walk, collaborate with artists and communities to host events in churches in Devon and Cornwall, help uncover the secrets of soil in the Lost Gardens of Heligan and work with community radio producers creating shows for broadcast on community radio stations.

The 2024 and 2025 editions of the FUTURES Festival were originally considered under the European Commission's Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions but will be delivered under the UK Research and Innovation's (UKRI) Horizon Europe Guarantee scheme.

Innovative and accessible

The European Commission reviewers praised the FUTURES Festival proposal for its innovative and participatory methods of engagement with research, including the use of creative practices such as theatre and music and putting co-creation with audiences at the heart of the approach for many of the festival activities.

The proposal was also praised for its approach to tackling some of the barriers audiences may encounter when engaging with research in a festival setting by utilising a range of face-to-face and digital activities as well as creating equitable opportunities for engagement through community-led activities.

Get involved

If you want to find out more about the FUTURES Festival or have an idea for a festival event or activity, the Public Engagement Unit would love to hear from you. Drop them a line via email (public-engagement@bath.ac.uk).

FUTURES: A Festival of Discovery 

The FUTURES Festival has been taking place each autumn since 2018 and is a festival showcasing and engaging people across the South West of England with research and innovation. The 2022 and 2023 editions were funded by UKRI Research and Innovation as part of the Horizon Europe Guarantee scheme and between 2018 and 2021 funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions as part of European Researchers' Night.

Dean Veall is Deputy Head of Public Engagement at the University of Bath. 

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement


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