Islands' Dimension for this year's Orkney Science Festival

18 August 2011

Islands' Dimension for this year's Orkney Science Festival

The islands are to the fore in this year's Orkney International Science Festival, which gets under way in two weeks' time. Six islands have packages of events featuring speakers and activities.


The island dimension has come about through Scotland's Islands, which has provided support for the Festival programme to expand from the mainland in the Year of Scotland's Islands.


There is a weekend of activities in North Ronaldsay, where three expert astronomers will introduce the sights of dark island skies, and in Stronsay where a new theory of sea serpents will be revealed by an expert on the Loch Ness Monster.


In Eday, there will be an evening on the story of Eday peat and Scotch whisky, and an evening on the latest developments in marine renewables.


Westray will feature an evening on Arctic exploration and a presentation of the latest news on the genetics of Orcadians, together with a heritage tour.


The Gable End Theatre in Lyness will feature a triple bill of speakers, with topics ranging from Svalbard to island geology. An evening in the Hoy Kirk on underwater archaeology is timed to enable mainland visitors to travel there and back by ferry.


In Sanday, the final one of the highly successful Soulkas will join the Festival with a theme of wildlife and environment.


Those unable to travel will be able to enjoy various island topics amongst the mainland events.


Island food and drink will be featured at a variety of events, in the islands themselves and at mainland venues.


Topics in the overall Festival programme vary from archaeology - with new information on the first Orcadians 10,000 years ago - to the Arctic, with stories of early explorers and modern developments in shipping.


There will be reports on the progress of wave and tide power, on efforts to conserve skate, and on research with stem cells for medical treatment. There will be insights into superconductivity, and the story of the world's oldest musical instrument - with a replica played.


The scale will vary from comets in the Solar System to the billions of tiny yeast cells and bacteria who hold the key to making alcohol and its associated flavours.


Speakers will include an astronomer from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, one of the world's leading oceanographers, and one of Britain's leading science fiction writers, who will open the Festival on Thursday 1 September.


Venues will include St Magnus Cathedral and Skaill House, as well as the Earl's and Bishop's Palaces. The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness is the setting for two sessions on art and science in the work of Margaret Tait, with a showing of several short films including some rare footage.


The Year of Scotland's Islands aims to raise the profile of the islands across the UK and internationally, attract more visitors, bolster economic development and strengthen links between the islands and mainland cultural organisations. The programme, which includes over 140 events across 42 isles, showcases the music, arts, food, sport, history and heritage of the islands, as well as highlighting their unique beauty as visitor destinations.


Full details of the Orkney Science Festival events are given in the printed programme and on the Festival website, with tickets bookable online through the website and from the Tourist Offices in Kirkwall and Stromness.


Scotland’s Islands - the events, exhibitions and activities happening all year round.

We list every event we hear of, large and small, taking place on the islands of Scotland or taking place elsewhere and relating to Scotland's Islands. They provide a unique opportunity to savour the diversity and excitement of island life. Check our our facebook page for general updates too -  

There has never been a better time for you to visit Scotland's Islands, to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and unspoilt beaches, to get close to dramatic wild-life, learn about our heritage, participate in a great range of activities, and enjoy our music, food and drink.

All this on some of our 99 inhabited islands large and small (and many more uninhabited) accessible by sea and air in six regions: Argyll & Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Outer Hebrides and Shetland.



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