The British Science Festival is coming to Chelmsford this September and its pioneering free programme of more than 100 events is now live.

One of the most ambitious UK events since pandemic began

The festival is running in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University and it’s set to be one of the most ambitious live events held in the UK since the start of the pandemic. There’s an immersive after-dark installation, in-depth discussions with some of the UK’s top scientists such as the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance, and nature-inspired audio experiences in the line-up.

Inspiration for city’s young residents

With so many different events, there should be something for everyone, and the festival is hoping to inspire the young and up-and-coming generation of the city’s residents. There’ll be opportunities to find out how science intersects almost everything in life, from music and fashion, to sport and the environment. This year’s festival will also be the most sustainable in the festival’s history and will shine a spotlight on topics such as the future of energy and transport.

The famous festival’s first Essex visit

It’s the first time that the British Science Festival, which is one of Europe’s biggest, has come to Essex. It was due to visit the city in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic. It will take place between 7-11 September and you can take a look at the programme and get booking now. These are some of the events you won’t want to miss:

  • The world premiere of BODY, an outdoor immersive installation created by renowned artists, WALK THE PLANK, that takes you on a journey through six different zones of the body, mixing human biology with light, special effects, sound and fire.
  • Join Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientific Advisor) and Dr Jenny Harries OBE (Chief Executive, Health Research Agency) as they take questions from a live audience about their experiences of dealing with Covid-19 over the last year.
  • Be part of the audience at a recording of the BBC’s The Sky at Night. A journey through the fascinating world of space and astronomy, with the latest thinking on what’s out there in space and what we can see in the night sky.
  • Escape the daily grind by experiencing The Peregrine – Audio Escape Trail, a solo 1.5-mile walk through the Chelmer Valley Nature Reserve listening to extracts from the book The Peregrine by Chelmsford-born writer J.A. Baker, read by local voice artists, plus music and birdsong.
  • Transforming eco-anxiety into eco-action with climate anxiety on the rise, psychologist and Climate Psychology Alliance member Caroline Hickman speaks with local young people as they share their stories of climate change, worry and visions of the future.
Be part of a recording of the BBC’s The Sky at Night

City introduced to scientists in its midst

There are dozens of events showcasing the work of ARU researchers, academics and clinicians, introducing residents to some of the pioneering science going on and the talented people working in Chelmsford.

Antonio Benitez, Director of the British Science Festival says the festival will bring inspiration and wonder to the city.

“We are really proud of this year’s programme and can’t wait to share it with Festival audiences. We have curated an inspiring programme of events that highlights local stories, issues of international relevance and celebrates the breadth and creativity of the cutting-edge research taking place in Chelmsford and across the UK.”

British Science Festival Director, Antonio Benitez

Book your free tickets and plan your visits

The festival is completely free, but you will need to book for most events. Check out the festival programme on the British Science Festival website and keep up to date with festival news by following BSF on Twitter @BritishSciFest and #BSF21 and on Facebook @BritishScienceFestival.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at or on 01245 606984.

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