Science Festivals Research

The Natural History Consortium delivers the annual Festival of Nature across Bristol and Bath, showcasing tried and tested content and piloting new ideas and formats for engaging people with the natural world. We build evaluation into the core of our programmes and collaborate with our academic partners, as well as other science communicators and festivals regionally, nationally and internationally to research the social and environmental impact of science festivals.

UK Science Festivals Network

We are active members of the UK Science Festivals Network, coming together with our fellow festivals from all over the UK to celebrate and advance a diverse and exciting science festival landscape. Working with UKSFN delivered a series of piloting, evaluation and development projects including:

  • UKRI/UKSFN Bringing young people and researchers together – facilitating the engagement of 11-17 year olds from low socioeconomic backgrounds with research by bringing them together with active researchers at our annual Communicate+ youth led conference.
  • BEIS/UKSFN Grand Challenges – developing and testing a programme of public activity incorporating The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges
Science Festivals Alliance

As part of the EvalFest programme, we are working with fellow science festivals in the United States to develop a toolkit improving the environmental performance of our events, balancing the environmental impacts of large events with the positive environmental outcomes from education, engagement and behaviour change.

We have identified 4 key principles for improving your festival’s environmental performance and look forward to sharing our findings.

  • TAKE LESS – reduce your festival’s consumption footprint
  • CHOOSE BETTER – opt for more sustainable alternatives
  • DEMAND MORE – from your stakeholders using your festival’s position as a convening platform
  • GIVE BACK – to nature through direct action, gifting time, cash or space for nature
FUTURES x Instagram

In October and November 2020, University of Bath and NHC collaborated on FUTURES x Instagram as part of FUTURES2020. The project was designed to experiment with social media platform Instagram as a tool to engage people with environmental science and brought together environmental science researchers with UK-based Influencers to co-create original content for Instagram.

The mixed cohort of 15 researchers and 10 Instagrammers were tasked with creating content to engage users of this platform with research, build capacity for digital engagement for researchers and experiment with the Instagram platform to convene digital discussions to increase dialogue around environmental science with an often-overlooked pubic group. Check out the hashtag #FUTURES2020 to see what was created!


Bultitude, Karen & McDonald, Dominic & Custead, Savita. (2011). The Rise and Rise of Science Festivals: An international review of organised events to celebrate science. International Journal of Science Education. Part B.