Photos by Elisa von Brockdorff
Science in the City will be back in Malta’s capital Valletta not in September, but on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th November 2020. The new dates for this festival has been set by the European Commission, to have more time to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Malta’s consortium has successfully won the Horizon 2020 European Researchers Night Fund. The ninth edition will host over 30 activities spread around Valletta’s iconic Triton Square, City Gate, Parliament Square, Spazju Kreattiv and il-Muza, the Fine Arts Museum.
Centred around the theme “Engage, Empower, Enable”, this year’s attempts to deal with the virus has resulted in an exciting new outlook for the festival. The festival will be a hybrid. Most of the activities held in Valletta will also be digitised allowing the festival to reach new online audiences. The event endeavours to engage its audience innovatively with science and the arts, in an attempt to empower citizens with creative thinking skills and enable them to become free thinking active citizens. The event, part of the EU-wide celebration, European Researchers’ Night, funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of the EU’s H2020 Programme, has been recognised as an excellent festival by Europe for Festivals and Festivals for Europe (EFFE).
Festival Coordinator Dr Edward Duca explains that: “For the past eight years, the festival’s fundamental aim has been to engage people emotionally and intellectually through a fusion of science and the arts. The festival strives to do more, by introducing creativity, critique and analysis, as well as the trend of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) among researchers and citizens. RRI is about bringing industry, government, citizens, NGOs and researchers together to help tackle the issues of society. To do this we need your help.”
“Most of all, we hope young people are inspired to think critically and that this will encourage them to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM). Do join us in celebrating the Science in the City festival, you are a crucial component in our experiment.”
Science in the City Manager, Karen Fiorini added: “This year the festival will be unlike any other. As COVID-19 continues to overshadow our future by throwing a blanket of uncertainty onto our plans, we have decided to hold the event on both Friday 27th and Saturday 28th November and to digitise the festival, as much as possible. This will give everyone a chance to join us without crowding over 30,000 people into the city on one night. Having an online presence will help with social distancing and allow the festival to happen even if we are forced back into self-isolation. Do visit our facebook page later on this summer to see how we plan to do this.”
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 Finance and the Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, MCAST, Esplora, BPC International, MEUSAC, PBS, Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta Local Council, Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector, More or Less Theatre, and Kreattiv of the Malta Arts Council.