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Innovate Guildford Wows The Crowds At Science & Arts Festival

Published on: 19 Mar, 2016
Updated on: 25 Mar, 2016

More than 5,000 visitors to the free Innovate Guildford Science & Arts Festival at G Live on Saturday, March 12 were treated to a showcase of cutting edge technology, research and design.

From a virtual ride to space to the exploration of a planetarium, to coding and programming skills, there was something to inspire all ages.

Children having fun at the Innovate Festival.

Children having fun at the Innovate Festival.

This was the main event of the Innovate Festival, with other satellite events having been held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Mayor oif Guildford’s chosen charity SATRO put on a STEMAlive! engineering event for schools on Thursday, while the Keep pub had entertainment on Friday and Saturday night along a science theme and The Bright Club performed at the Electric Theatre on Saturday night.

A number of high-tech organisations from Guildford and the local region exhibited on the day including McLaren Automotive, the University of Surrey and the Pirbright Institute.

Mayor Nikki Nelson-Smith with a high tech car at the Innovate Festival.

Mayor Nikki Nelson-Smith with a high-tech car at the Innovate Festival.

It provided a great opportunity for these organisations to open their doors to the public and give them a behind-the-scenes glimpse at emerging technology and research.

There were so many industries proving what is possible through innovation – from civil engineering, to gaming, to medical research. Many young people saw for themselves what the future holds and what potential careers are available. The organisations chose fun ways to get all people involved.

Visitors, young and older, at the Innovate Festival.

Visitors, young and older, at the Innovate Festival.

The Pirbright Institute showed how live insects transmit diseases and asked visitors to take the flu fighters challenge.

Campbell Reith civil engineering asked young people to build a construction zone for a chance to win a Star Wars drone and the University of Surrey got young adults involved in a variety of technologies and science based subjects – from exploring virtual reality to learning about what it takes to be a vet.

The National Physical Laboratory challenged visitors to measure weight, the Academy of Contemporary Music turned fruit into a musical keyboard and in the gaming zone, teenagers got the chance to explore programming and coding through technologies such as BBC’s Micro:bit and Raspberry Pi.

These were just some of the experiences available to visitors.

Concentrated attention looking at a 3D printer in action.

Concentrated attention looking at a 3D printer in action.

Unique to this festival was the exploration of the link between science and arts with contributions from the Boileroom. Urban art, synaesthetic art, photography, creative writing and theatre technology were all represented with a science theme.

Young performers from Guildford Shakespeare Company performed ‘Shakespeare’s Science’. Yvonne Arnaud Theatre displayed its production technology and many professional artists encouraged visitors to get involved with interactive demonstrations.

This included the production of a ‘zine’ on the day by visitors and a photography competition inspired by innovation courtesy of the London Camera Exchange under the guidance of professional photographer Lillian Spibey.

Talks with a science theme live on stage included Professor Derk-Jan Dijk on explaining the mystery of teenage sleep patterns. Many diverse topics were discussed including virus research, food sustainability, marine conservation, the internet of things and synaesthesia.

Students from St Peter's get involved.

Students from St Peter’s get involved.

The idea for the festival came from the Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Nikki Nelson-Smith, as part of her theme ‘Inspiring Guildford’s Future Innovators’.

She said: “It was a fantastic celebration of innovation in Guildford day and G Live was really buzzing with thousands of people of all ages enjoying the many displays, interactive demos and talks on offer. I was particularly pleased to see young adults in awe of the technology and the science themed art.

“I would like to thank all of the exhibitors at the festival for doing such an amazing job spending their Saturday inspiring future generations by showcasing their amazing companies.

“I would also like to thank the volunteers from St Peter’s School who did a brilliant job welcoming and guiding visitors.

“I hope the day made more people aware of the fabulous innovation occurring in and around Guildford. If, in addition, the day has introduced more young people to STEM and arts subjects and ignited their interest in future careers in these areas, then I am glad we provided this opportunity for them.”

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