Infinity Festival Cumbria 2017

Well North backs new Science & Technology Festival in Cumbria

Young people from across our Well North pathfinders had a fantastic day at the Infinity Festival, a new and groundbreaking science programme for secondary school students.

The first event of its kind for Cumbria, Infinity took place on 28th September at the West Lakes Academy, Egremont. It featured a stellar line up of international superstars in the world of science, technology and engineering including experts in robots, insects, crime mapping, aircraft design, nuclear reactors, and a host of other exciting fields, including

  • Professor Brian Cox, BBC broadcaster and Professor of Particle Physics at The University of Manchester
  • Professor Danielle George MBE, Vice Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and a Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering at The University of Manchester
  • Dr Erica McAlister, Senior Curator for Diptera and Siphonaptera at the Natural History Museum
  • Dr Theodoros Bampouras, Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Biomechanics at the University of Cumbria
  • Dr Steven Le Comber, Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London
  • Dr Sarita Robinson, Senior Lecturer at UCLan.

More than 200 students aged 13- to 14-years-old, from across Cumbria, attended Infinity and are set to be inspired to become the next generation of scientists and engineers through motivating talks and exciting hands-on experiments and workshops.

The Infinity Festival was hosted in partnership with the Science Summer School, an annual event held at St Paul’s Way Trust School in London. Co-founder, Lord Andrew Mawson OBE, who si also Executive Chairman of Well North, said: “In July 2016 we hosted a group of young people from West Cumbria at the Science Summer School. We were so inspired by the levels of enthusiasm that it was decided to hold a similar event in Cumbria.”

“The event in London has been running successfully for 6 years and our research has shown that the event has not only built confidence but has enabled 50% of pupils, many on free school meals, to gain places at Russell Group Universities. In addition, around 50% have gone on to study STEM subjects.”

Pete Woolaghan, Chair of the Festival Organising Group, said: “This is the first festival of its kind to be held outside London and it’s an amazing opportunity for Cumbria’s young people. The energy sector in Cumbria is due massive investment in coming years and we want local young people to make the most of these opportunities. We believe that the whole community of Cumbria needs to encourage and support our young people to be inspired to become the next generation of world-class scientists and engineers and to be supported to study, and succeed, in gaining the necessary qualifications.”

The festival was created by The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, working closely with the REACT Foundation. It was also supported by a range of industries and academia including: NuGen, who supported via their award-winning Bright Sparks education programme, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Cumbria and West Lakes Academy. The event is also actively supported by the Well Whitehaven initiative, working to improve health and wellbeing by realising the potential of people and communities.

You can see videos from the Festival plus a gallery of photos here. There were also lots of great photos and comments on social media.

Our Well North artist Matt Worden was commissioned to provide a creative activity alongside the science focused work. The installation 'If a butterfly flaps its wings' illustrated how small disturbances can have the power to influence and change. Each child attending made an origami butterfly which was then added to the installation. Read more about Matt’s work across Well North here.