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World-first digital science festival to take place this summer

The Festival of Nature will break new ground this summer as it becomes the first science festival in the world to run simultaneously on-location and online – giving global digital visitors the chance to navigate their way around the festival and enjoy live and static talks, workshops and screenings.

The festival, which attracts around 20,000 people annually, will take place in Bath and Bristol from 1-9 June and the digital festival will run alongside the physical event, offering on-site and digital exclusive content to open up the festival to a worldwide audience thanks to a unique collaboration with the University of Bath using the iVent platform.

During the week-long festival, the platform will host live talks, video, podcasts and Q&As with specialists, with new content and live screenings being added daily, alongside a range of downloadable resources.

Confirmed content includes:

  • Cutting edge research from the University of Bath including a study into pain which uses motion capture, a video on lab grown meat, a photo exhibition which showcases how research is helping society and lectures from leading academics.
  • Live talks from some of Britain’s leading nature writers.
  • A film with Butterfly Conservation which reveals the morning opening of a Bristol moth trap, with a specialist on hand to do a Q&A on the importance of moths and why we should record them.
  • A live film showing the work of the charity Tree Aid, who are developing a huge piece of art in central Bristol to commemorate World Environment Day on 5 June.
  • A range of ‘how to’ guides from Nature Volunteers with advice on how to make a bug hotel, a pine cone bird feeder, wildflower seed balls and a wildlife pond.

Savita Willmott, chief executive of the Natural History Consortium which organises the festival, said: “We’re breaking new boundaries this year with some really exciting new initiatives that will help to make the 2019 Festival of Nature our best yet.

“The launch of the digital festival is truly groundbreaking and we’re thrilled to be able to invite the world to Bristol and Bath to share in the wonders of nature through this impressive digital platform.

“Our work has always focused on engaging the public with the natural world and this platform enables us to reach a new, global audience and to explore how we can use digital tools to appreciate our physical surroundings.”

Dr Helen Featherstone, head of public engagement at the University of Bath, said: “The Festival of Nature is a wonderful celebration of the natural world and the launch of the digital platform is a fantastic opportunity to engage new audiences in the work of researchers at the University. We are excited to be part of this initiative and look forward to sharing research that will inspire and enthuse people of all ages and backgrounds around the world.”

Gavin Newman, iVent director, said: “Virtual events are increasingly being used for a variety of purposes and delivering the world’s first digital science festival is a great example of this.

“Virtual events provide a truly flexible but engaging solution to any organisation wanting to reach a widespread audience so we’ve created digital functionality to allow online visitors to participate in a truly engaging environment enabling users to chat to each other, watch live presentations and even download How To Guides as well as other content. With the added benefit of allowing those who can’t attend the chance to catch up on demand, we’re hoping this year will see even more people enjoying this well-established festival.”

As with the Bristol and Bath weekend events, the Digital Festival of Nature is available to access free of charge from www.festivalofnature.org.uk, where you can also find out more information and buy tickets for the paid for events.

You can follow the festival on Twitter: @FestofNature Facebook: @BristolFON and Instagram: @Festofnature