Programme launched for 2019 Science Festival

The oldest event of its kind outside Edinburgh is set to celebrate its 29th anniversary.

Exploration, wildlife and adventure will be at the heart of the 2019 Orkney International Science Festival, to be held across the islands later this year.

The programme for the Festival has just been released, with events taking audiences from pole to pole, to Central Asia and even to the Moon.

With fascinating talks, island trips, outdoor demonstrations and plenty of fun activities, there is something for everyone at this year’s Festival, which will take place between the 5th and 11th of September.

The mapping and chart work of Orkney by former Kirkwall Grammar School master Murdoch Mackenzie will be the focus of one talk at the Festival


The programme will also have an added outdoor dimension as it joins forces with a new Foraging Fortnight being established in Scotland.

Foraging food from the wild, once standard for older generations, is now reviving, with its benefits for nutrition and exercise and the opportunity to connect to the natural world.

The Festival’s programme will be enhanced by a range of new events, including shore outings and papermaking from natural materials. There will be talks on wild food in Scandinavia, a look at the potential of seaweed for health and nutrition, and an evening of foraged food from the Neolithic.

Wilderness instructor Zeki Basan will host demonstrations at a special outdoor event this year


The foraging theme will be part of a climate of exploration at the Festival, which will also be marking the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the Moon, 50 years ago this month. There will be accounts of plant-hunting in the mountains of Turkmenistan, of the return home of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s ship, and the search for the lost Franklin expedition.

The programme also features talks on space and astronomy, with speakers including Scotland’s Astronomer Royal and the chief executive of a Scottish satellite company; and there will be a call for a radical new approach to speed up space exploration.

The Festival will also host a concert in the 12th-century St Magnus Cathedral in tribute to the life and work of the great American astronomer, Carl Sagan. The annual Family Day also makes a return, with the King Street Halls in Kirkwall transformed into a science-filled activity centre for young folk.

The always popular Orkney International Science Festival Family Day will return in 2019


Browse the full programme via the official Orkney International Science Festival website, and you can also find the Festival on Facebook.


The Digital Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020

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