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A workshop held at the Potteries Science Festival.

Great chemistry for Stoke's first Potteries Science Festival

The city's first ever Science Festival was a major success after a great turn out...

Posted by Charley Rogers | August 05, 2017 | Events

Organisers of the first-ever Potteries Science Festival have pledged to bring the event back to the city next year, after hundreds of students and visitors alike enjoyed taking part in their experiments, workshops and science sessions.

The two-day festival provided more than 500 students with the opportunity to enjoy hands-on science sessions, led by scientists and technology businesses at venues across the city - including Staffordshire and Keele Universities, the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and the City Learning Trust’s Burslem School of Art.

As well as this, there were primary and secondary school activities and workshops, all organised by teachers and students at Trentham Academy and teachers from Haywood Academy and Stoke Sixth Form.

At the Mitchell Arts Centre, the free evening event ‘We Are The Alchemists’ attracted an audience of more than 200 people. Speakers uncovered the DNA of Stoke-on-Trent and enjoyed a discussion by leading UK barrister Michael Mansfield, as to whether DNA from forensic science was reliable.

"It’s been a great festival,” said co-organiser Robert Beardmore, Professor of Mathematical Biosciences at University of Exeter, “we’ve been able to bring some really exciting ideas to the city.

“I hope it will inspire young people to think about all those future possibilities - and their own futures - as the inventors of tomorrow.

“A great deal of thanks are due to everyone who took part in the festival, many of whom gave presentations during the day and evening so had very long days. Their support made the festival happen and I’m delighted so many of them have agreed to return next year so we can continue to inspire young minds.”

Those taking part this year included KMF, Steelite International, Cobra Biologics, Astra Zeneca, Synectics Solutions, Wavemaker, CGI company Framestore and Living DNA, alongside scientists from Manchester, Birmingham, Loughborough, Exeter, Staffordshire and Keele Universities, Imperial College and The Royal Institution.

A series of competitions also ran during the festival to encourage students to experience science - including a STEM Sells competition which saw more than 50 Year 10 and A Level students taking part. 

It led to a final ‘talk-off’ between students Nathalie Feeley and Amy Worrall on the subjects of slowing the ageing process and neuroscience. Nathalie’s talk was finally selected as the winner by Professor Jonathan Wastling of Keele.

Other festival competition winners include:

Photographer – James Maddock of Trentham Academy

Writer – Jacob Nixon of the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College

Engineers – Winning teams were St Peter’s Academy, Thistley Hough Academy and Excel Academy

Scientists – Molly Poole and Chloe Owen of St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy

The festival is an area-wide collaborative initiative between Staffordshire University, the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the University of Exeter, as well as universities network Higher Horizons, community organisation Wavemaker and SASCAL, the Stoke-on-Trent secondary headteachers' group.

Mark Parton, one of the organisers from the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College added, “As a result of the festival we’ve been asked to join the UK Science Festival Network by the British Science Association, who hopefully will be able to support us with funding for next year, which is great news.

“We’ve also been invited to the first UK Science Festival Network conference on November 9th in Edinburgh, so hopefully we can spread the message far and wide, not only about the festival, but also about the great scientific work being carried out in Stoke-on-Trent.”

For more information about the Potteries Science Festival, please go to potteriessciencefestival.org

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