Cheltenham Science Festival announces line-up for its 20th anniversary year

Returning for a full-scale festival to celebrate its 20th anniversary this June 2022, Cheltenham Science Festival is back with an exciting line-up.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Hear from prominent scientists, climate activists and even a Great British Bake Off finalist at Cheltenham Science Festival this June 2022.
Hear from prominent scientists, climate activists and even a Great British Bake Off finalist at Cheltenham Science Festival this June 2022.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Cheltenham Science Festival is back from Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12 June 2022 – and the full line-up has just been announced.

Promising to show how science is shaping our future, this year’s festival has four guest curators who will bring to life the powerful theme ‘Be The Change’ for the second year running.

There are 130 ticketed events taking place, along with free activities and plenty of interactive fun for people of all ages.

Highlights include guest curator and podcaster Deborah James asking if we can cure cancer in our lifetime; Jeff Forshaw wondering if we’re all really just holograms; Jim Al-Khalili asking if we’re any closer to solving the mystery of time; and climate justice activist Daze Aghaji envisioning what a new world could look like with the help of young changemakers including disability campaigners, queer activists and cybersecurity experts.

Great British Bake Off finalist and engineer Andrew Smyth celebrates bread and shows off his skills with ‘bakineering’ demonstrations; prominent nature writers Marchelle Farrell, Nina Mingya Powles and Tjawanga Dema share how they’re advocating for the planet through art; Adam Hart shares how to garden to save the planet; GCHQ representative and barrister Jamie Susskind discusses how to protect collective rights and freedoms during the digital revolution; Tilli Tansey and Noel Morgan explore the research shaping how we treat diabetes today, marking the centenary of the discovery of insulin; and clinical psychologist Sam Akbar provides tips on how to feel calmer, less stressed and more resilient.

Families won’t want to miss adventurer Lindsey Cole sharing the true story of the Mermaid and the Cow to highlight plastic pollution; author Jon Chase diving into the science of Star Wars and superheroes; and BBC The One Show resident scientist Marty Jopson presenting his electrifying One Million Volts show.

There’s an exciting programme of free events, including brand-new zone The Arcade, which features fun, creative and cryptic challenges; VOICEBOX offering a series of free digital events covering hot topics from neurodiversity, body image, life hacks to video game design on Instagram and TikTok; and returning favourites the Discover Zone and MakerShack. There’s a free science trail to follow around the festival site, too, along with a programme of free events and workshops on the Apollo Stage – including guest curator Alom Shaha showing families how to transform and recycle homemade objects into toys and machines.

Cheltenham Science Festival also takes to the High Street on Saturday 11 June 2022 for a gravity-defying and thought-provoking outdoor performance from Highly Sprung physical theatre company.

Head of programming for Cheltenham Science Festival, Marieke Navin, said: ‘We can’t wait for people of all ages to share incredible ideas and experiences at our Science Festival in June. We hope they go away energised and inspired, and able to talk more confidently about science.’

Tickets for Cheltenham Science Festival go on general sale at on Tuesday 26 April 2022.

For more information, see Cheltenham Science Festival.

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