Author Archives: forecol

Call for Artworks

Science, not Fiction at Glastonbury Festival 2020.

We are seeking submissions for an open-air art exhibition in the new Science Futures area of the Green Futures Field at Glastonbury Festival 2020

Background and purpose

Our times are characterised by concerns about the consequences of human activity for the future of our planet. Growing public awareness of our environmental footprint has given rise to widespread activism, scaremongering, and political spin. The science behind the headlines is often disregarded or misrepresented in favour of superficial soundbites, ‘likes’, and viewing figures. ‘Science Futures’ provides a counter-balance to activism, politics and news media. Science Futures is dedicated to the crucial role of science in identifying environmental issues and the scientists working to find solutionsThe stalls, demonstrations and performances in the area provide a relaxed an engaging atmosphere in which visitors can find out about the scientific evidence behind the headlines and discover how different areas of research are coming together to secure a brighter future for all life on Earth.

In keeping with the festival’s strong tradition of contemporary arts and visual impact, the exhibition Science, not Fictionmakes an essential contribution to the launch of Science Futures by infusing the area with an enticing visual aspect and demonstrating the effectiveness of communicating science in non-verbal forms. The exhibition will be widely promoted during the launch of the area and is expected to receive thousands of visitors over the festival weekend.

We invite submissions on the broad themes of Science, not fiction’ or Science for a brighter future’ to be displayed alongside a short accompanying text during the 50th Anniversary of Glastonbury Festival from 24-28th June 2020. 

Themes and format:

For an accessible and weather-proof outdoor exhibition, we seek electronic submissions of A0 artworks, which will be printed by us on vinyl banner material. 
Artworks should be themed around one of the following categories representing broad scientific disciplines:

  1. Maths and Computing
  2. Physics
  3. Chemistry
  4. Engineering
  5. Biological and life sciences
  6. Earth and planetary sciences
  7. General science / interdisciplinary research

Two entries from each category will be chosen for display at the festival.
In addition, an A4 pdf catalogue of the winning artworks and runners-up will be made public.


Each submission should comprise 1 pdf file of the artwork, and 1 editable text file with accompanying information. 

  • Artwork should be submitted as a pdf file (841mm x 1189mm, CMYK colour) with a resolution of 300 dpi. The image will not print right up to the edge, so please leave 3-mm blank (bleed) on each edge.
  • Accompanying information should be submitted as an editable text file (e.g. MS Office Word, Apple Pages or rich text format) and include: 
    i) the submission category;
    ii) the title of the artwork; 
    iii) your name and website/affiliation that you wish to have displayed with your artwork;
    iv) a short accompanying text (50-150 words)

Please submit your artwork and accompanying  information by Friday May 15th 2020 to with “Artwork submission 2020” in the subject line.

For large files, please use a file transfer service such as

For more information, please contact: Emma at

Take the weather with you

After the 2018 “Fallow Year”, Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll returned to Glastonbury Festival in June 2019 with lots of new activities. Teaming up with colleagues at the Met Office, we themed the stall and activities around climate change.

With expert advice from newly minted MBE Richard Betts, we had a lot of fun spinning the wheels of climate fortune and trying our hand at weather forecasts for 2050 – you can watch all the forecasts in our YouTube playlist.

Visitors to the stall also contributed to the future of woodland in the UK – for each visitor who played ‘Create Your Ideal Woodland’, Wytham Woods agreed to plant an acorn from an ancient oak tree at Wytham Park near Oxford.

Last but not least, our stall featured some amazing artwork by Erica Nockalls of The Wonder Stuff, and graphic designer Mike McInnerney, whose impressive portfolio includes the cover for Tommy by The Who.  We also displayed Glastonbury’s very own “warming stripes” by Ed Hawkins.

Top of the City

On March 2nd and 23rd, we took our Sex & Bugs & Rock ’n Roll roadshow to a shopping arcade in the centre of Lancaster for the 2019 edition of Campus in the City.

Shoppers discovered the hidden wonders of woodlands, identified their inner animal, and played the popular Poo Game (only plastic poo involved) to identify animals from what they leave behind. We had some really great chats about all sorts of things from dung beetles to conservation to climate change. A big thank you to everyone who dropped by – and a very special mention to the lovely visitor who returned to say thank you with a bag of very welcome chocolate eggs!

Radio Waves

Monday saw us back in Carlisle – being interviewed by Kevin Fernihough at BBC Radio Cumbria. After a weekend at Kendal Calling, “introducing” presenter Tom Salmon had been instructed not to shower or change before calling into work.

We’re not entirely sure how much he knew in advance, but when Tom heard that we were going to show him the microbes on his festival kit, his expression was priceless

Tom bravely provided T-shirt, wristband and wellies for us to swab live on air – and we’re following the growth of his festival bacteria until Friday, when Jo will phone in live to identify Tom’s very own festival bacteria…

Here’s what the plates looked like after only 2 days…

And the lovely results after 4 days in the stinkubator:

Radio Gaga

When Jennie Dennett of BBC Radio Cumbria heard that we were taking Cumbrian dung beetles to Glastonbury, she immediately got in touch to find out more and invited us to give an interview at their studios in Carlisle. Our activity “How Gross is Your Festival Kit” gave her an idea – drawing presenter Mike Zeller away from the studio under the pretence of a meeting, a member of the studio team took sneaky swabs of his kit and posted them to us at the Lancaster Environment Centre. We duly plated them out and incubated them to see what’s population the BBC Radio Cumbria studio.

On Friday, we arrived at the studio with some nasty-looking growths on agar plates, which we were able to produce on cue when Mike asked us about the activity.


BBC Radio Cumbria videoed the whole thing, so you can watch it on their Facebook page here.

Mike’s bacteria are now on show in our newly opened Hall of Shame. Thanks to the BBC Radio Cumbria team for making it happen!

We think it went pretty well – despite an initial fraught 20 minutes of being lost in the Carlisle one-way system during morning rush-hour.