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Sparkling Mix of Over 90 Events at the Orkney International Science Festival

Orkney International Science Festival 2023 programme brochures are now available.

The programme has details of a sparkling mix of over 90 events packed into the seven days from 7-13 September. There are speakers from Shetland and Barra, from Slovenia and the USA – and some visiting robots as well. There are musicians too, including two composers of electronic music and the legendary western group Riders in the Sky.

The Sun will form a spectacular centrepiece, an installation in St Magnus Cathedral with speeded-up images of the actual solar surface filmed from space.

Festival director Howie Firth explained

“We’re used to steady sunlight, but close up it’s very different. It’s a seething mass of fire, with swirling storms and immense flares. The installation shows the sheer power of it, in a setting where it’s possible to sit and reflect.

“Around the Sun we’ve built a range of events, including talks on the Northern Lights caused by solar winds of particles and on the nuclear fusion process that powers the Sun. There are workshops on astronomy and archaeoastronomy, and two concerts in the Cathedral. We’ll also be joined by the Scottish composer Eddie McGuire, for new film performances of several of his works inspired by astronomy.

“One thing I should highlight at this stage is an error I made for the Saturday, which I only realised after the brochures were printed. Orkney Theatre is the main venue for the Kirkwall talks that day and there are four talks which I incorrectly put as elsewhere. I hope that my mistake doesn’t detract from the events and the tremendous support that we’ve received from so many people and organisations to make this our fullest and most varied programme yet.”

front cover of the festival programme with three people looking at huge standing stone as the sun sets (or rises)

Click on this link to access what’s on: Orkney International Science Festival 2023

The Festival’s opening day, Thursday 7 September, will mark EMEC’s 20 years of marine energy testing by looking 20 years into Orkney’s future – at new possibilities for energy and transport, and also a design for a new type of affordable house.

The Festival will hear of the latest research in areas from photonics and artificial intelligence to the use of microalgae to convert waste to food and fuel. There will also be a look at soil improvement through using minerals, leading into a ‘tattie tasting’ session on the effects of adding rock dust to the soil. Other events on a food theme will include a look at the benefits of traditional oats and bere, and a return of the popular Peedie Kirk lunches of Orkney fare.

A day at the Pier Arts Centre exploring art/mathematics links will accompany an exhibition on the influence on artists of mathematical forms in nature. An exhibition at the new Ship of Fools gallery in Kirkwall will bring together a sea-themed range of artists and forms of media, from painting and crochet to origami and ships in bottles.

The transformative power of Orkney light is the theme of Orkney Camera Club’s annual Festival exhibition at the Orkney Library.

Genetics meets family history in the search for the origins of the Fletts and other old Orkney families, and there will be a look back 70 years to the hurricane of 1953 that blew down the pioneering wind turbine at Costa Head and forced the steamer Earl Thorfinn to run before the wind to Aberdeen.

The Festival runs from 7-13 September, and programmes and tickets can also be obtained from its website www.oisf.org as well as from the tourist office in Kirkwall.

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