The Galway Science and Technology Festival (GSTF ), as part of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI )’s National Science Week, returns this November as a virtual event, but promises to capture all of its usual fun and excitement.
The Festival will run for two weeks from November 8, and this year offers all primary schools in Galway City and County the chance to participate with many exciting workshops. The culmination of the Festival will be in the ‘e-Exhibition’, an interactive, online production on Sunday, 22nd November featuring special presenters, STEAM demonstrations and fun activities for the whole family to watch and enjoy together.
Now in its 23rd year, the festival educates, inspires and motivates Galway to be curious about the world around us, and to nurture in students of all ages an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM ).
The programme will feature ‘Career Stories’ and Cisco Webex streamed workshops for TY students by experienced local scientists and engineers in STEMM companies. The programme will also offer ‘Whizzkids’ coding workshops and an outer-space adventure with Killaloe Exploration Dome.
Other Festival events include an activity pack for primary schools built around the theme of “Colourful Science” provided by GMIT. There will be an exciting collaboration between Foróige and CÚRAM - NUI Galway’s SFI Centre for medical technologies – to create fashion works inspired by CÚRAM’s research. ‘Hope it Rains’ will provide socially distanced, and virtual, guided walking tours of ‘Drowned Galway’, a series of photomontages on walls and in windows across the city envisaging life in a near-future, inundated city.
NUI Galway’s SFI Insight research centre will host a string of events, including ‘Avatars in the Classroom’; ‘Citizen Science: Saving the Past’; ‘Back to BASICS’ coding workshop looking back on the democratisation of computing over the past 50 years; ‘Crowd4Access’ citizen science community workshops; ‘Shadows of an Empire’ exhibition on the schools and postal service of Ireland, 1890-1922; a Morse Code workshop; and ‘The COVID Experience’ examining pandemic life in Direct Provision.
The Festival’s famous, centrepiece Exhibition Day, usually hosted by NUI Galway, will be streamed online as an interactive production bringing favourite attractions alongside new features for 2020. This e-Exhibition will feature Sue McGrath’s ‘Bubble Magic’; Dr Michel Dugon’s snakes and spiders; Cell Explorers’ guide to extracting DNA from a banana; specially produced STEMM demonstrations by Medtronic; COVID-19 experts; and a juggling class with James Soper.
The ReelLife Science video competition winners, and the Galway Science Person of the Year, will also be announced as part of the e-Exhibition.
STEM is critical to everyone
Festival chairperson, Mr Paul Mee welcomed the participation of the sponsor companies, saying he is delighted that, with the continued support of sponsors including Medtronic, the main sponsor for many years, they are able to proceed with this year’s festival albeit on a virtual basis.
“STEM, proven by current events, is critical to everyone and we have to do all we can to encourage children to study STEM subjects and choose it as a future career.
“It will be a challenge to produce a virtual program that will engage with teachers, pupils, parents and children but it is a challenge that the GSTF committee have embraced with their usual commitment and enthusiasm and I am confident that it will be a success.”
Mr Mee acknowledged the Festival’s long-standing partnership with Medtronic and NUI Galway, as well as the support of Science Foundation Ireland, Boston Scientific, Cisco, Fidelity, Merit Medical, Creganna/TE, Genesys and Aerogen, GMIT, Galway LEO, the Marine Institute, IDA Ireland, and Galway County Council, he said “The Festival is a true reflection of the exciting STEMM happening in Galway and the collaborative spirit of all our partners.”
The Festival coincides with Science Foundation Ireland’s National Science Week, which this year celebrates the theme ‘Choosing Our Future’. The manager of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, Anne Murray encouraged schools to get involved in both SFI’s Science Week and the Festival. “Schools can hold Science Days, using the experiments provided by the Festival”, she said. “We hope families can keep Sunday 22nd November free to join us for a wonderful event that will be sure to spark their curiosity and excitement”, she added. For more visit GalwayScience.ie Galway Science & Technology Festival is one of Europe’s largest event for the education of children - Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM ). Supported by Medtronic; Boston Scientific, Cisco, Fidelity, Merit Medical, Creganna/TE, Genesys and Aerogen, GMIT, Galway LEO, the Marine Institute, IDA Ireland, and Galway County Council.