Monday, 1 February 2010

We're the UK’s most popular science festival!

Manchester has UK’s most popular science festival

Over 100,000 people flocked to the 2009 Manchester Science Festival (MSF) – making it the most popular event of its type in the UK.

The Festival, which took place in October, was a week-long celebration and exploration of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Packed with over 150 events taking place across Greater Manchester, the Festival focused on the relevance of science to our everyday lives, its history and the work taking place in the region today.

Only launched in 2007, MSF is one of the UK’s newest and freshest science festivals – and last year’s event saw attendance increase by a massive 56 per cent from 65,691 in 2008 to 102,288.

Visitors came from the region, the UK and overseas to enjoy a total of 317 events, exhibitions, school workshops and community projects created by 57 organisations.

Events were held in 48 public, cultural, community, academic, educational, social, indoors and outdoors locations.
In total, 43,112 people attended events, 58,374 visited exhibitions and 802 took part in the schools programme.
The majority of events were free and a number were fully booked, including;

Dr Bunhead's crash test jelly babies - Manchester Central
The Luck Factor with Richard Wiseman - MOSI
Nick Arnold : The Horrible Science Show – Zion Arts Centre
Childhood obesity debate – John Rylands Library
Geek girl dinner - Sweet Mandarin restaurant
Human evolution talk by Steve Jones – Bolton Museum
Blood, vampires and science debate and film – Cornerhouse
Robot hack day – MadLab

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said: “Science festivals like Manchester's are fantastic at putting science in front of the widest possible audience. They convey the wonder and importance of science and engineering to people at all ages.”

Natalie Ireland, Festival Director, said: “Manchester is a great science city, boasting legendary figures like Rutherford and Turing, so it’s only right that it has a great science festival for everyone to enjoy and participate in.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the attendance figures and it’s a great credit to everyone involved in the Festival, many of whom gave up hours of their time to help run events.

“Huge thanks must also go to our partner organisations and our funders, whose support allowed us to run a very successful and enjoyable week of events.

“We’re certainly not resting on our laurels and we are already busy planning our programme for Manchester Science Festival 2010, which promises to be bigger and better than ever.

“We’re always keen to get feedback and improve what we offer, and I would encourage anyone with ideas and suggestions for future Festivals to get in touch.”

The 2009 Festival was supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), MOSI and Siemens.

George Baxter, Director of Science and Innovation at the NWDA, said: “Science and innovation are at the heart of the NWDA’s vision to build and sustain a knowledge based economy in the Northwest. Encouraging young people to take up science at further and higher education level is vital to this, and as last year’s visitor figures show, the Manchester Science Festival is proving an enormous success in engaging young people with science. The Agency was pleased to provide its support to the event, which we hope will help to inspire the next generation of budding scientists.”

Manchester Science Festival 2010 will take place from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 October.

Notes to editors

Festival Director Natalie Ireland is available for further comment on 0161 606 0129.

Photographs from the 2009 Festival are available on request. For more information please contact Alex Waddington, Media Relations Officer, 0161 275 8387 or 07717 881569.

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