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Science in the City is finally back… in the city

The news we didn’t know we needed this fine morning: Science in the City is back this September! Right now, pre-festival events and activities are on-going, delivering science-inspired artistic content through its website and social media, leading up to the live, virtual and physical events, which will be held on Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of September.

The on-going pandemic forced a complete overhaul of the festival, leading to the creation of a hybrid event of real-world and live-virtual festivals, which are full of unique performances and shows, as well as an Explore the Arches area, where content will be accessible for the entire weekend. Though attendance is free of charge, it’s crucial to book your seats in advance. Theatres and other venues around the city of Valletta will host a myriad of events from Friday at 4pm, right through to the following day, from 10am till 10pm.

Five venues dotted around the city, which include St Dominic’s Theatre, San Gorg Preca College Primary, City Theatre, the National Museum of Archeology, Spazju Kreattiv and St Magdalene Church will be buzzing with activity.

What’s the aim of Science in the City?

Photo: Edward Zammit

Photo: Deborah Catania

Every event will be a thought-provoking one, conceived to build and instil pride in Malta’s cultural and natural heritage, inspiring the audience to take responsibility for the world around them, engaging them with knowledge to spark critical thinking, as well as the desire to become more active in shaping their own future.

Researchers, private companies, UM student associations, several organisations, artists and NGOs from a spectrum of fields have joined forces to stage these events. The collaborations aim to give all who attend a scientific mindset and thus, become more powerful citizens.

What’s the aim of Science in the City?

As mentioned, several different events will be taking place both in real life, as well as online. Here are a few examples: The University of Malta’s FAST project will feature aliens that have invaded our islands, plants and animals, which destroy native ecosystems. The Environment & Resource Authority, in collaboration with the University of Malta, will be introducing Ċlikki’s wild adventure. Ċlikki the butterfly just wants to reach her family and her Long Flutter Home highlights the difficulties that Malta’s wildlife is facing. You can meet the animals as they struggle to survive the changes that the island is undergoing.

Also, award-winning British comedy singer-songwriter John Hinton will be presenting a selection of his songs, which resonate with the festival’s theme of Sowing Seeds. The set will include a song especially written for the festival, with help from local children and in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta.

What’s more, there will be the Time Traveller’s Dilemma installation, by Glen Calleja’s SolidEye. Here, they will be inviting visitors to pass through a portal to other dimensions. Visitors will be able to have a conversation with someone from the past, even their very own past, or future selves, and observe objects that were used on a daily basis. This edition of Science and the City will also see the launch of a brand new game show called the Game of Talents. Here, you can meet the people who live and breathe science. Malta’s researchers will line up while participants can get the chance to guess their profession, with very few clues to help them along.

Actors Jeremy Grech and Sean Briffa will also be there to present The Adventures of the Ammoknights: Moving Megaliths, which is a creative performance and tour around Malta’s neolithic exhibits, at the National Museum of Archeology. Using science and logic, the two Ammoknights plan to highlight the great achievements of these ancient people.

On the side of the MSPCA, Caged will be presented; a human tribute to the emotions of all animals trapped in small, inhumane conditions. In the same vein, Birdlife Malta will be collaborating with the Chamber of Scientists, Kids Dig Science, to launch a puppet show on the Yelkouan Shearwater, which inhabit our cliff faces. At Spazju Kreattiv, children will be encouraged to figure out how to safeguard the habitat that is so important for the lives of such majestic birds, and Cliff the chick in particular.

All in all, Science in the City has been carefully planned to ensure visitors, staff and volunteers experience the event safely.

These and other real-world events will be seated and Health and safety measures will be implemented at all times. For this reason, audience numbers will be restricted, booking early is strongly advised via the Science in the City website and social media. 

Science in the City is part of the European Researchers’ Night, an EU-wide celebration. It is co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under grant agreement No 101036030, Arts Council Malta (ACM) and a number of corporate sponsors. It is recognised by Europe for Festivals and Festivals for Europe (EFFE). 

The Science in the City consortium is led by the University of Malta and the Malta Chamber of Scientists, in partnership with the Minister for Equality, Research, and Innovation, Trust Stamp Ltd, Malta Enterprise, MCAST, Qualia Analytics, Esplora, BPC International, SEM, PBS, Spazju Kreattiv, Tech.mt, Aquabiotech, Valletta Design Cluster, Valletta Cultural Agency, The Environment Resource Agency, WasteServ, More or Less Theatre and Keen Ltd. 

Keep an eye out on the festival’s Facebook page here, or their website here.