Orkney International Science Festival Breaks New Ground for its 30th With a Free Digital Bonanza

Readers may recall our announcement at the beginning of July that the successful Orkney International Science Festival would be going online for 2020. Orkney International Science Festival 2020 is Going Online

More details have been released by the organisers.

The festival will run from the 3rd to the 9th of September. It will feature its usual diverse mix of talks and activities.

There will be family activities, music and food and drink events.

Last year saw the addition of Scotland’s Foraging Fortnight bringing more walks and workshops to the rich programme. Foraging Fortnight will be returning this year, the LEADER funded festival aims to educate and to give everyone confidence to carry out foraging activities in their own time.

foraging edible plants and berries

The festival will stream its talks, walks, workshops and concerts  live to YouTube. Anyone, anywhere, with a broadband connection and access to YouTube will be able to watch.

Questions and discussion, which are always a popular part of the Festival, will again be on offer. Questions can be asked, and comments submitted, on YouTube’s live chat shortly before and during each event. Full details of how to sign up and take part in the discussions will soon be available on the Festival website.

The online delivery requires considerable resources. The Science Festival’s own technical team has been expanded to bring in assistance from various regular Festival supporters with technical expertise. Four teams, including a group from Moray’s astronomy club, SIGMA, and geographically spread across Orkney and the north of Scotland, from the Black Isle to Portgordon, will help deliver the Festival.

Director of the OISF Howie Firth said:

“It’s very appropriate that we should break new ground for our 30th anniversary. Going online opens up a new dimension for the Festival and we are extremely fortunate with the tremendous technical assistance that we’re getting and the way in which a comprehensive delivery format is being put in place and tested.”

Festival events will be introduced by a team of online presenters, for whom special training is being provided by the Kristin Linklater Voice Centre and taught by Paula Langton, who has assisted and co-taught extensively alongside the late Kristin Linklater.

Paula Langton and Ken Cheeseman who will be teaching the special voice course for Orkney International  Science Festival

Paula Langton and Ken Cheeseman who will be teaching the special voice course for the Orkney International Science Festival

This year’s festival is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, with funding going towards facilitating online delivery and towards the digital programme, with particular focus on Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.


Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said:

“Festivals and events have been finding innovative ways of sharing their content with audiences during these challenging times, and Orkney International Science Festival is a great example of this. We are delighted to be supporting the festival this year, through our Beacon Programme Fund, to deliver its diverse programme by utilising online technologies and platforms.”

The move online for this year’s Festival will open the Festival to people in their homes and offices all over the world. More details will be coming soon on The Orkney News and on the Festival’s website www.oisf.org.

Some images from past OISF events and talks. You can find more in The Orkney News archives. Just use the search button on the website.

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