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Image: Still Moving Media


Deadlines for submitting events are

Adult and Family events deadline: Midday Friday 18 October

Submit events for Adult and Family events

Adult and Family events

Tuesday 2 June – Sunday 7 June 2020

The Cheltenham Science Festival programme attracts people who are interested in science but who generally do not have specialist scientific knowledge. In the 2019 programme, there were 122 specially curated events and 12 workshops for our adult audience.

Over the weekend there were 12 events designed especially for families, 19 family workshops and 6 extra free activities in the Festival Village.

The family events are fun and playful explorations of science with something for both adults and children. The content of family events appeals to a wide age range with lots of audience interaction, demonstrations and other interactivity. Events are given a recommended lower age limit e.g. suitable for ages 8+.

Adult events are individually created around hot topics in science, with speakers selected who are at the top of their game working at the cutting edge of their specialities.

Event formats include:

Solo speaker talks: events where a single speaker explores the breadth and depth of a topic with time set aside for audience Q&A.

Duos and interviews: two speakers discuss a topic in a more conversational style event, or an interviewer discusses a particular topic with a speaker.

Panel discussions: three speakers (including a panel chair) discuss a topic in a conversational style, where panel members usually bring different perspectives or opinions. The chair of the panel facilitates the discussion and leads the audience Q&A.

Interactive science shows: Highly interactive and visual events with live experiments and audience interaction.

Comedy and entertainment events: Comedy shows with a link to science and other events with a strong focus on entertainment. These events are often held in the evening, sometimes with the bar open.

Food and drink events: Events exploring the science of different food and drink, usually with tasters/samples. These events are often held in a cabaret style. In previous years, we hosted events on coffee, cheese, chocolate, cider and gin.

Workshops: These hands-on events are usually held in a classroom format for audiences of 20-40. They are highly interactive, with the audience spending most of the event engaging in an activity rather than listening to a presenter.

Other formats: We are always open to considering other formats which will work within our programme. For example, in previous years we ran a pub quiz with a difference, Jury Live, an event where the audience decided whether a fictitious defendant was guilty and Pandemic Live, a rolling scenario of disease outbreak, controlled by the audience.

What the audience want

We always consider what different audiences might be interested in, and what they are looking to get out of an event. There are many different event concepts and approaches that work well including (but definitely not limited to):

Introduction to… aimed at audience members that are new to a topic

… in depth aimed at audience members looking for a deeper exploration of a topic

Cutting edge for audiences that want to explore the latest research in a field

Debate and discussion where the audience can hear different viewpoints, get to the bottom of controversial issues, and give their own thoughts

Myth busting for audience members who want to get to the bottom of conflicting information or perceived knowledge

How to… for audiences who want to explore how science or research could help them do things differently

What if… for audiences who are interested in how different decisions and scenarios may affect the future and society

Personal experiences for audiences who want to hear from people who are directly affected by something

A Fun Night Out for audiences looking for some lighthearted entertainment, with a sprinkling of science.

How to apply

You can apply as an individual, group or organisation. Please select the appropriate options on the submission form. We accept submissions in both written and video format so you can submit your idea in a way which allows you to communicate it best. If you wish to share your idea through video, please send a hyperlink through the video submission form but please keep the video under three minutes in length. We look forward to hearing from you!

Would you like to be an official Festival partner? Branding and event sponsorship opportunities are available within the Festival. To find out more contact us at or call on 01242 537256.

Written Submissions: Apply here for Adult and Family events

Video Submissions: Apply here for Adult and Family events

Please fill in the form giving as much information as possible. Due to the number of proposals received it may not be possible to offer feedback on unsuccessful applications.

If you have any questions about the submissions process please email