Bradford Science Festival Returns this October Half Term

The National Science and Media Museum’s Bradford Science Festival is returning this October half term (23 – 31 October) with events and activities at the National Science and Media Museum and partner venues across the city. 

Tickets for festival events are available to book online now. This year’s festival will be themed around four different zones exploring the Science of Sound; Science Saving the World; BradLab; and STEM City.  

The Science of Sound will link into the museum’s current Sound Season exhibitions, giving visitors the chance to uncover how sound technologies work, as well as what it takes to record and make music. Science Saving the World will look at climate change solutions, how we can better look after the environment and be more sustainable.  This zone will include local initiatives and organisations that promote sustainability and the environment and how families can get involved. BradLab will showcase the inspiring science happening in Bradford and how this affects our everyday lives, and finally, in STEM City visitors can learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths from the members of the museum’s Trans- Pennine STEM Ambassador Hub. Families will also have a chance to meet people working in STEM and discover routes into these careers for the future.   

Vicky Clifton, Head of Learning at the National Science and Media Museum, said: “We are so excited to be bringing back Bradford Science Festival this October. We’ll be exploring some really important themes this year, including Science Saving the World and STEM career paths. Last year’s festival had a slightly different look to usual to make it possible to go ahead, so it’s wonderful to be getting the festival back out into the city and to be working alongside community venues, and even showcasing amazing light and sound displays in City Park, and a life size killer whale in The Broadway.”

Live highlights of this year’s festival will include shows from Science Made Simple, including Music to Your Ears, where families can discover how our ears pick up sound and have a go at unusual ways of making sound and music, including the ultimate ‘hands-free’ instrument and one that can be played with a blowtorch. They will also be delivering the XX Factor Science Show, where participants can meet amazing women from history who were pioneers in STEM but are mostly unheard of despite their achievements. Visitors can discover the ground-breaking work they did and meet the modern-day equivalents they inspired, with exciting demonstrations along the way. 

The festival will also welcome Dan Fox, sound artist, musician, and installation creator. Dan will be showcasing two of his installations, the Thunder Sheet and Chladni Plate. Participants can hear amazing thunderous noises as sounds are played through this large metal plate, and then see how the Chladni Plate can create beautiful sand patterns that move and change using vibrations. 

Outside of the museum, the festival will be stepping into the city with two special light and sound displays in City Park on Saturday 23 October. Dan Fox will be showcasing the Luminosi Tree, an impressive six-metre-high tree-like sound and light sculpture controlled by the wind. As the listener wanders underneath, the directional sound and changing resonances surround the listener in an evolving and meditative sound bath that responds to the environment.  

Visitors can also experience Illumaphonium, a dynamic and interactive, multi-sensory, music making installation. Created by musician and inventor Michael Davis, the multi-player musical sculpture stands over three and a half meters tall with more than a hundred illuminated chime bars. Each bar responds to touch, with ever changing patterns of light and sound, spreading out like waves over the giant instrument’s surface, bringing people together into a fun and spontaneous music making experience. 

The festival will also be joining forces with The Broadway on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 October to welcome Incredible Oceans who will be bringing their 10-metre-long life size inflatable Orca and OceanDOME, where participants can take part in hands-on workshops about ocean acoustics, climate change, plastics, and all things under the sea. On Sunday 24 October there will be a special story time session led by “Pirate and Marine Biologist” Rusty Cutlass (also known as Oceanographer Dr Russell Arnott).

The public will also be treated to special live musical performances in and around the museum from Global Grooves and their giant puppet pals on both Saturdays of the festival, and on Tuesday 26 October Distant Drums, who will tell the story of Reggae Sound System culture. Families can also take part in the LEGO Technic Move It challenge all week in STEM City and there will be a Pumpkin Trail across the city from the 28 – 31 October, with maps available at the museum.  

This year the festival will be partnering with community venues, including Shine in West Bowling on Tuesday 26 October and Laisterdyke Library on Thursday 28 October. Visitors to these venues can take part in workshops and demonstrations with Noisy Toys and Impact Gamers, as well as meeting Eli24, a robot made from recycled materials. 

For those who are unable to visit in person or wish to carry on learning after their visit, there will be online activities including experimental music sessions with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; AimHi who will be uncovering how people can be part of the climate change solution; and Leeds Biomedical Research Centre who will be teaching attendees about ultrasound.

The museum is also creating printed packs with its festival partners which will be distributed through its partner schools.

In August it was announced that PPG, global supplier of paints, coatings, and specialty materials, will return as this year’s Major Partner after partnering with the festival in 2020. Other sponsors include the University of Bradford, The Broadway, and Bradford BID. 

Free tickets for Bradford Science Festival and full programme information can be found on the museum website. Please note some events are drop in but all visitors to the museum must pre-book a free ticketed time slot in advance of their visit. Sign up to the museum newsletter for the latest updates. 

You can also follow festival updates on the National Science and Media Museum’s website, and on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Visit for more inspiration, like us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and sign up for the visitBradford newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox. Don’t forget to tag @visitbradford and #VisitBradford and let us know about what you’ve been enjoying across the district!

While restrictions have been eased, please remember to follow the latest COVID-19 guidelines in order to enjoy these events in a safe and responsible manner.