Sir David Attenborough to take part in new festival

The Cambridge Festival will include an exclusive interview and Q&A with Sir David Attenborough.

The Cambridge Festival will include an exclusive interview and Q&A with Sir David Attenborough. - Credit: Toby Smith + Cambridge Conservation Initiative

Sir David Attenborough, Springwatch presenter Chris Packham and a former Archbishop of Canterbury all feature in an extensive programme of a new Cambridgeshire festival.

The University of Cambridge unveils on Monday, February 22 the full programme for its exciting new festival, the Cambridge Festival.

University of Cambridge's new festival, the Cambridge Festival

University of Cambridge's new festival, the Cambridge Festival, takes place online between March 26 and April 4 this year. - Credit: University of Cambridge

The festival is set to host a series of free, online events that can be viewed by anyone anywhere in the world between March 26 and April 4 this year.

The inaugural festival brings together the hugely popular Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

It aims to tackle and offer solutions for humanity’s most pressing issues, from pandemics, climate change and global economics, to human rights and the future of democracy.

The Cambridge Festival programme will be announced on February 22.

The Cambridge Festival programme will be announced on February 22. - Credit: University of Cambridge

Over 350 events, including debates, discussions, talks, exhibitions, lab tours, workshops, films and performances, present new ideas, research and insight into our daily lives and the issues that are affecting us all.

The Cambridge Festival features hundreds of prominent figures and experts in the world of science, current affairs and the arts, including broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough, leading expert in carbon footprinting Professor Mike Berners-Lee, statistician Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, and marine biologist, broadcaster and writer Helen Scales.

Hope for Our Planet is one of the planned events in the new Cambridge Festival

Hope for Our Planet is one of the planned events in the new Cambridge Festival - Credit: Sophia Lanfear

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Others involved are naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham, Costa Rican climate champion Christiana Figueres, widely credited for achieving the Paris Agreement, Professor of politics David Runciman, human rights barrister and author Philippe Sands, TV presenter Liz Bonnin, and Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

Naomi Clements-Brod, festival manager (sciences), said: “Through its sheer volume and scope, the Cambridge Festival is a true reflection of the immense impact the University of Cambridge continues to have on our world through its research.

"We are excited to be sharing and involving people, from right across the world, in the forward-thinking work of the university and its collaborators during the 10 days, and very much look forward to welcoming our online guests to the very first Cambridge Festival.”

University of Cambridge's new festival, the Cambridge Festival. 

University of Cambridge's new festival, the Cambridge Festival, takes place online between March 26 and April 4 this year. - Credit: University of Cambridge

The Cambridge Festival programme is divided into four key themes: health, environment, society and explore.

On environment, there are talks by internationally known experts, including an exclusive interview and Q&A with Sir David Attenborough in Hope for Our Planet with Sir David Attenborough.

Environmental expert Mike Berners-Lee will take us through the facts and figures to help us understand the big picture and how we can respond to it in our everyday lives in There Is No Planet B.

Elsewhere, Helen Scales eloquently and passionately brings to life a series of tales, based on her new book about deep sea discovery in The Brilliant Abyss.

A family planting

In 2040 award-winning director Damon Gameau embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. - Credit: Together Films

Other events include a Q&A with Chris Packham about why he is optimistic. Chaired by Dr Rosie Trevelyan, participants need to register for this event to submit their questions to Chris Packham via the Earth Optimism website after February 22. Visit www.earthoptimism.cambridgeconservation.org/stories-of-hope/reasons-for-optimism/qa-with-chris-packham/

The Reasons for Optimism Q&A will be with Chris Packham.

The Reasons for Optimism Q&A will be with Chris Packham. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Festival

On society there are panel discussions on everything from democracy in an age of upheaval with Professor David Runciman and Nina Schick to the impact of Black Lives Matter with Professor of Black Studies Kehinde Andrews, who has a new book coming out shortly.

There are further talks by distinguished academics including Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen on the links between neurodiversity and innovation, and James Otteson discusses his forthcoming book, Seven Deadly Economic Sins, on the seven central economic fallacies.

Research into COVID-19 at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Addenbrooke's.

Research into COVID-19 at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Addenbrooke's. - Credit: 2020 The Associated Press

On health, there will be panel discussions on everything from COVID-19 research and the impact on children of growing up in an increasingly insecure world, to the future of genome editing.

On explore there is a panel discussion on how Cambridge is contributing to global development challenges, and a tour of the ‘Nobel Prize factory’.

This is a look inside the labs of a world-class research institute, the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, whose scientists have won 12 Nobel Prizes for important work that has helped us understand and tackle major problems in health and disease.

myICUvoice - a ground-breaking iPad app allowing ICU patients to communicate with staff and loved ones.

myICUvoice - a ground-breaking iPad app allowing ICU patients to communicate with staff and loved ones. - Credit: Supplied by University of Cambridge

There are live demonstrations of zero carbon technologies, and Professor Tim Minshall looks at the ways in which engineers are trying to address the many challenges we read about in the news, from COVID-19 to climate change, from toilet paper shortages to living on Mars.

Among the new Cambridge Festival's family activities is interactive game show Battle of the Beasts with the Museum of Zoology.

Among the new Cambridge Festival's family activities is interactive game show Battle of the Beasts with the Museum of Zoology. - Credit: University of Cambridge + Julieta Sarmiento Photography

As always there are numerous events for all the family – from interactive game shows, escape rooms, live experiments, hands-on workshops and more.

View the full programme via www.festival.cam.ac.uk from February 22.


Virtual Escape Room

The Department of Pathology's Virtual Escape Room will involve a series of online activities, quizzes and puzzles specially selected for the ages of each team. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Festival

Prior to this, you can also sign up for Cambridge Festival updates via the website before the programme comes out and bookings open.

The festival sponsors and partners are AstraZeneca and RAND Europe.

Cambridge Festival talk Big Data, Big Brother and The Big Blue Ocean tackles the problem of overfishing

Cambridge Festival talk Big Data, Big Brother and The Big Blue Ocean tackles the problem of overfishing, which can seem overwhelming, but now satellite technology and anyone with a home computer can make a real difference. - Credit: Supplied by University of Cambridge


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