Wednesday 28 February 2024

Bees, Trees and Science are coming to Fort St. Elmo

Photos by Elisa von Brockdorff

30th September and 1st October 2022 mark the 10th anniversary of Malta’s beloved Science and Arts festival. On the 7th October the festival will close with an online format following last year’s success as a hybrid festival.

This year’s festival will welcome people of every age in the historic walls of Fort St Elmo and Sala San Duminku. In the run up to the festival there will be pre-festival events running from the end of August onwards. Things kick off on the 26th August with the Bioblitz, by the University of Malta’s (UM) Institute of Earth Systems, where everyone with a smartphone can help to find and identify alien plant species on this fun day out. Other events include science and dance workshops and a virtual escape room.

Through engaging activities, music and performances as well as chats with researchers, Science in the City wants to show the fascinating side of science and the opportunities that STEM careers offer.

Building on last year’s theme “Sowing Seeds” the goal is to ensure the idea that citizens can use science-based knowledge to identify today’s challenges and opportunities to Taking Root; the title of this year’s theme. This year’s festival will continue this goal to help empower communities to be better equipped to influence the policies and decisions that affect them at every level.

“I’m so excited about this year’s line up!” said festival co-ordinator Dr Edward Duca, who announced the festival’s launch at the University of Malta. “We are (…) having real-world and online events throughout September, an evening jam-packed with art works and stands in Fort St Elmo, and two days of performances in Sala San Duminku for all to enjoy. From workshops on bees, to songs about science, we are bringing scientists and artists together to make research happening locally accessible to more and more people. We are proud that independent research in 2019 showed that around 40% of Malta’s citizens had attended the festival in person. We look forward to welcoming many more.”

Professor Alfred Vella, Rector of the University of Malta, said how the institution“has always wholeheartedly supported Science in the City because we see it as an effective means of spreading the important message that citizens need to engage with science and technology. We need kids at school and their parents and grandparents to understand that the country’s future and fortune is brighter and more secure if science is understood, mastered and embraced by as many of us as possible.”
In his speech, the Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation, Hon. Dr Clifton Grima, stressed that “Science in the City Festival is an excellent opportunity for the science and artistic community to come together to bring science closer to the general public, especially to highlight a significant theme reflecting the European Commission’s goals to the survival of our planet.” Grima said that education plays an important part to raise more awareness about the European Green Deal and the Horizon Europe research funding programme, and the involvement of student organisations in this prestigious event is of the utmost importance. “The Government is committed to see that schools provide a holistic education, engaging students in all aspects of our society”, said Grima.

Hon. Keith Azzopardi-Tanti, Parliamentary Secretary of Youth, Research and Innovation, views the Science in the City Festival as a unifying force of science in Malta. “I am grateful to see that another edition of Science in the City Festival is being held as this will engage more people within our society to experience science irrespective of their background and age.”

Science in the City is part of the EU-wide celebration, European Researchers’ Night. It is co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, under grant agreement No 101061120, the Arts Council Malta (ACM), Esplora STEM Engagement fund and a number of corporate sponsors. It is recognised by Europe for Festivals and Festivals for Europe (EFFE). 
The Science in the City consortium is led by the University of Malta and the Malta Chamber of Scientists, in partnership with the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation​, Trust Stamp Ltd, Malta Enterprise, MCAST, Qualia Analytics, Esplora, tech.mt, BPC International, SEM, PBS, Spazju Kreattiv, Aquabiotech, Valletta Design Cluster, Valletta Cultural Agency, Transport Malta, The Environment Resource Agency, WasteServ, Heritage Malta and More or Less Theatre. 

This communication reflects the author’s view and the European Commission is not responsible for any information it contains. 

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