Tag Archives: Winchester Science Festival

Win Guide to July

It’s summer in the city.  Let’s see some of the highlights on offer this month:

It’s the Winchester Festival, 7 to 15 July.  Celebrating its twentieth year, this is one of the city’s oldest festivals.  Enjoy nine days of curated music, talks, drama and visual arts in a programme that includes homages to Rachmaninoff, Queen Victoria, Shakespeare and, in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of her death, Jane Austen. There will also be Winchester walks on offer. For full details, visit the website here.

The Chesil Theatre will also be celebrating Jane Austen with their sold out production of Persuasion, 15 to 22 July.  Fear not, if you missed out on a ticket this time, as Chamber Opera Tours present Jane Austen’s Persuasion: A New Musical Drama at the Theatre Royal Winchester.  For more details, and to book tickets, visit here.  The Bank of England will be unveiling a brand new £10 note at Winchester Cathedral on 18 July, featuring Jane Austen from 2.30pm. Registration for tickets has closed now but the Cathedral will remain open as normal.  For other Jane Austen events, don’t forget to visit the Jane Austen 200 website.

The Pedal, Paddle, Pace triathlon will take place on 16 July, in support of Macmillan.  With a 20k cycle ride, 5k run and 2k kayak (supplied), individuals or groups can enter.  PPP was established in 2004 and has raised over £100,000 since. For more details on how to participate, visit the website here.

The 2017 edition of the Winchester Science Festival will take place 28 – 30 July.  There are plenty of events for all age groups, with talks and participatory exhibits.  The festival takes place at the Winchester Discovery Centre.  For a full schedule of events and details about how to book passes, visit the festival website here.

Don’t forget to take a look at the Popcorn in the Planetarium  programme at the Winchester Science Centre. It’s a good chance to watch a big blockbuster movie screening for little ones, teens and grown-ups in the planetarium cinema space.  For the full schedule, visit here.

Finally, for food connoisseurs, keep an eye on the Hampshire Fare Food Festival running all month.  For a tasty programme of events across the county, visit the website here.

We’ll bring you more tips on Twitter throughout the month @Win_Guide, meanwhile enjoy!

Win Guide to July

July is here and Winchester will not fail to deliver its share of weird and wonderful events to brighten what has been a temperamental summer thus far:

Stonemasons-Festival-Have you ever experienced live stone masonry?  Winchester Cathedral will be hosting a Festival taking place in the Inner Close, 8-10 July, where stone masons from across the UK will be showing their carving prowess, culminating in a public auction of works on Sunday 10 July and a chance to meet the masons. The event is free.

hampshire-fare-Foodies will be pleased to hear that July is also the Hampshire Food Festival, with various events taking place across the county all month.  On Friday 15 July 2016, Winchester’s Forte Kitchen will be opening its doors afterhours for a unique evening of food and drink. “Kitchen Cabinet” is a collaboration between Forte Kitchen and Cabinet Rooms. For a comprehensive list of all the events on offer, visit the online programme here.

Winchester Festival of the ArtsThe Winchester Festival of the Arts runs until Saturday 9 July, a series of music, talks and drama throughout the city. Speakers include Michael Morpurgo, Robert Hardy and Sandi Toksvig. There is a lunch time recital programme at St Lawrence’s Church, a selection of visual arts exhibitions and some interesting city walks. We like the sound of Alfred’s Kingdom (a dramatised walk) described as a journey ‘back through time’ to Anglo-Saxon Winchester with a dramatic twist! Booking is recommended. For a full programme visit the Festival website here.

Wessex Dance Academy will be presenting an exciting evening of choreography and film at the Theatre Royal, 14 July at 7pm.  A new company of dancers will share their 12 week journey with  three new pieces of dance. The event is free although donations are welcome.

logoThe Winchester Science Festival takes place  22-24 July. A fantastically curated programme of speakers will take over the Discover Centre for a weekend of stimulating talks on space, nature, the future and of course, powerful lasers. Various exhibitions and other events will be taking place throughout the month, and a full programme is available on the Winchester Science Festival website.

Plenty of food and thought this month – enjoy!

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

Matt Denton's Mantis Robot, part of the Winchester Science Festival 2014
Matt Denton’s Mantis Robot, part of the Winchester Science Festival 2014

As I made my way to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, currently showing in the gallery of the Winchester Discovery Centre, I was startled to come across a mantis. Not an insect, but rather a massive, six-legged robotic walking machine designed by Matt Denton, founder and chief designer of Micromagic Systems. This unexpected encounter seemed like an appropriately fitting preface to an exhibition exploring how we attempt to capture nature.

The images in the exhibition have been selected from 43,000 entries by an international jury chaired by Jim Brandenburg. The quality is, not surprisingly, extremely high.  Each photograph on display in the large, well-lit and air-conditioned space is captioned with information detailing not just how each picture was taken but also the wildlife caught by the lens.  A lovely way of engaging with the varying interests of viewers.

Michael 'Nick' Nichols, The President's Crown
Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, The President’s Crown

Technically speaking there is some astonishing work here, like Michael Nichols‘ award-winning The President’s Crown. This giant from California’s Sequoia National Park carries a load of some two billion leaves. Nichols’ photograph of it digitally combines 126 images. It took a year to plan and seven months to shoot – an impressive undertaking, yes, but then the tree itself is 3,200 years old! Also remarkable are the contributions of various young photographers, including in the 10 years and under section.

Jasper Doest, The Netherlands, 'Snow moment'
Jasper Doest, The Netherlands, ‘Snow moment’

Among some really striking and beautiful images are Snow Moment, winner of the Creative Visions prize.  Jasper Doerst has captured a Japanese macaque jumping in a mysterious swirl of snowflakes or Richard Packwood’s ‘The greeting’ (Nature in Black and White) which could almost be a line drawing.

The exhibition isn’t sugar-coated. Some categories encourage us to think more deeply about our relationship with the environment. There are moving and serious images like, for instance, one of a shark with a hook in its jaw or Brent Stirton’s powerful and upsetting view of the ivory trade.

You don’t discover the over-all winners until the end of the exhibition. This is as it should be. Each photograph deserves to be enjoyed in its own right and, really, the idea of choosing the ‘best’ from such a wonderfully varied, sometimes touching selection must have been quite a task. Do go and immerse yourself before 21st September, when the exhibition closes. The images, however, will linger long after that in the mind’s eye.

Cost: free

Helen Paskins is a Winchester-based professional orchestral and chamber musician who has worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BSO and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. 

School’s out for summer!

Winchester Cathedral workshops
Cathedral workshops

What’s on in Winchester for kids this summer? It’s officially here and the excitement is palpable.  Hampshire schools break up on the 24th July meaning only one thing: summer holiday time! No more school until September.  Bright mornings, long days and balmy evenings. Here’s a non-exhaustive flavour of what Winchester has on offer to keep the kids educated and entertained this July and August.

Firefly Theatre School
Firefly Theatre School

For budding thespians, the Firefly Theatre School is offering two weeks of summer schools suitable for 6-16 year olds at the Tower Arts Centre (Kings School) and in the Winchester College QEII Theatre. Week one (11 – 15 August) will culminate in an all-singing, all-dancing and all-acting version of Treasure Island and week two (18 – 22 August) will take inspiration from the Brothers Grimm to devise fairy-tales. It’s £150 for a week, £250 for two and there’s a 10% sibling discount available. Alternatively, Winchester Stagecoach will be running morning musical theatre workshops at Westgate School for children and teenagers 4 – 8 August, 10am – 12pm for £130.

Matt Denton's - Mantis Robot
Winchester Science Festival

Junior Einsteins will be pleased to hear that from 24 July to 1 September, Winchester Science Centre is open 10am-5pm at weekends and 9am-5pm on weekdays (including the bank holiday) offering bonus science shows and special, live planetarium shows. The science shows are at no extra cost to Science centre visitors and, running at 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm, will explore  oceans, space, the weather, flight and nature. 5-12 year – olds can pack their lab coats for Mad Science camp at Prince’s Mead School, 18 – 22 August at £35/child per day or £150 for the week. Activities include safe-cracking, yucky yeast and the slime Olympics. And don’t forget, science fans can also indulge in the Winchester Science Festival this weekend, 25-27 July.

RAW Adventure Camps
RAW Adventure Camps

Meanwhile, outdoor and sporty treats abound this summer in the city. Super Camps will be running at Winchester College for 4-14 year olds, combining sport, art and play at £42 per day or £170 per week. 7-14 year old kids can go tribal with Raw Adventure, leaving iPhones and tablets behind to reconnect with nature and learn how to survive in the great outdoors. Tennis camp is on in Littleton (21 July – 29 August) for Andy Murray’s in the making, with half-days available for the mini-Wimbledon champs (4-7yrs) and full days for junior versions (8-14yrs). The ‘Players Camp’ for 11-15 year – old serious competitors is running 11 – 15 August.  Prices range between £12/day and £80/week and prizes and certificates will be on offer for children attending full – week camps. Limited places are available for the Winchester Rugby Football Club summer academy for under 9s and under 12s with medals to be won each day (12 – 15 August).

Lantern’s Children’s Centre in Bereweeke Road is offering a Kids Summer Play scheme for 4-11 year – old children with disabilities or additional needs from 28 July.  Activities/trips could include LEGOLAND, Longleat safari park, Marwell zoo, dance, arts and craft and swimming at a budget – friendly £12.50/day or £15 on trip days.

© Hannes Lochner (SOUTH AFRICA) Curiosity and the cat
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition © Hannes Lochner

Winchester Cathedral will be running activities and workshops for children 7 and upwards on 19th, 21st,  26th and 28th August, 10am – 12pm for £2 including a drink and a biscuit.  Adults are welcome to stay at no extra cost but booking is advised. Professional LEGO experts will be coaching children 5yrs and upwards at the Winchester Discover Centre in the art of building a castle on 12th August. The entry fee is £9 and includes £5 worth of LEGO to take home. Visitors might also like to take advantage of the free Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition on loan from the Natural History Museum and running until 21st September.

Art Start
Art Start

Finally, Art Start will be leading 6-11 year olds under the sea, into the carnival and off to the great outdoors with three weekly sessions at Henry Beaufort School.  Led by local artist Donna Vokes, children will be encouraged to explore their imaginations and create a masterpiece or two at their own pace. Prices vary according to the number of days booked and range between £30 and £230.

The Winchester Science Festival

Matt Denton's - Mantis Robot
Matt Denton’s – Mantis Robot

Fancy seeing Winchester engineer Matt Denton‘s two tonne Turbo Diesel-powered Mantis robot – the biggest all-terrain operational hexapod robot in the world? Or how about deconstructing the Hat Fair with Dr Ken Farquhar as he explores the science behind juggling, circus and the like. Perhaps you’d like to launch into some rocket science with Lucy Rogers?  If you haven’t already guessed, Winchester is readying itself for a scintillating science-tastic take-over at the Discovery Centre 25-27 July, with the return of the annual Winchester Science Festival, launched in 2012. The festival will feature science, music, comedy and hands-on exhibits all weekend with plenty on offer for the whole family.

The Ugly Animal Preservation Society
The Ugly Animal Preservation Society

Friday’s programme is geared towards younger science fans. Terry Harvey-Chadwick’s Fire Show at 10am will feature some explosive demonstrations with his brand of ‘fun science’. At 11am, step-aside Superman, Channel 4’s Simon Watt will be taking a closer look at genetic mutations and revealing that we might be closer to the X-men than we thought with his talk ‘Mutants. What Are they Like?’. Winchester Science Centre’s Alex Boxley will be talking us through the universe at 3pm and at 5pm award winning Dr Mini Saaj will be exploring Nature-Inspired Robots For Science & Medicine. Adults can pop along in the evening to Frogs and Friends, a comedic talk with The Ugly Animal Preservation Society’s professor of comedy, Simon Watt. And its worth noting that all the festival evening events are for 15s and over.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Saturday’s programme starts at 10am when Dr Radu Sporea assisted by Andrew Pye will lead us in a participatory look at modern photography with hints and tips for practitioners. At midday, Dr Jock McOrist will be making the elusive String Theory accessible for everyone. After lunch there are two opportunities to listen to the extraordinary astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. To round off the day, Bright Club Guildford will present an evening of comedy, music, art, research, science and performance. On Sunday, budding Bear Grylls‘ can take a journey into the extremities with Prof Mike Tipton exploring physiological and psychological responses to harsh environments. Sally Le Page will be leading us on a lighthearted romp through the bizarre world of animal sex lives with Secrets of Sex. The festival reaches its climax with Being 747, where science meets music in a pop rock group inspired by the work of David Attenborough.

The Mobile Planetarium
The Mobile Planetarium

Various exhibits will be on offer on-site throughout the festival, including the Mini Professors, free group science sessions for pre-schoolers with songs and experiments. The Soton Astrodome c/o the University of Southampton will be running a mobile planetarium hourly all weekend from 11.15am. Shows are free but advanced booking is advised. The National Oceanography Centre will be bringing along the PufferSphere, a glowing 2m digital globe, which shows complex climate and weather systems.

Ticketed talks are available online with SEE Tickets  where you can book a full festival pass, daytime or evening passes or just for specific talks. Children accompanied by an adult go free all weekend and there are some free events in the programme. For full programme listings which may vary visit winchesterscifest.org.

Winchester Science Festival
Winchester Science Festival

Winchester Science Festival is run by the not-for-profit Winchester 
Science Foundation who aim to champion and celebrate science with the public, raise the profile of women in science, promote science education and science communication and raise the awareness of Hampshire science.