Run by Nottingham STEMworks over a period of 17 days, the aim of the festival was to invite the people of Nottingham to come and explore science, ask questions and take part in lots of different demonstrations. We took the MIRAGE box along to Broadmarsh shopping centre for a day of demonstrating our illusions and chatting to the public about what we do and why it is important.
The great thing about this event was that it gave us the opportunity to engage with people who would otherwise by unlikely to attend organised science fairs/events. Some people needed more convincing than others to come over and have a go, and for some the mention of having their finger ‘stretched’ led to a look of disgust and a swift get away (the early morning shoppers were probably our toughest crowd)! Nevertheless we were able to reach a wide audience, from school children to grandparents, all from different backgrounds and with varying experience of engagement with science. We had lots of interesting conversations with people who were keen to learn more, and it was great to chat to members of the public about our research and science in general.
We also had fun trying out some of the other demonstrations ourselves, and particularly enjoyed the ‘Science Busking’ experiments using everyday household items (who knew a grill rack and a piece of string could provide so much entertainment?!). Although this event was probably one of our most challenging in terms of getting people engaged, we had great fun and are looking forward to taking part again next year.