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!

In the City… we keep it rockin’

It’s spring 2019 and Lancaster University’s Campus in the City project is back, bringing research and researchers from campus into the city centre shopping arcade to share their discoveries with the city residents.

“Because of what you do we’d like to invite you to the launch event,” they said.

“Oh, what an honour!” we thought.

“The deputy mayor will be there!” they said.

“Sounds like canapes and complimentary drinks on tap!” we thought.

“So if you could be there to set up from 9 am and have your stall and activities ready to open to the public at 10 am, then work until 3 pm, that would be excellent,”

Hang on a second…

Yes, we were part of this year’s Campus in the City launch event, and it was a great honour! We were introduced with full fanfare by Lancaster University’s champion for engagement Prof Sue Black, alongside other colleagues from Lancaster Environment Centre and other University departments. I have to say that even at Glastonbury, I’ve never talked someone about the Wonders of Woodlands with a stilt walker stood beside me!


Another thing we’ve not experienced before is for one of our visitors – a complete stranger – to come back to us towards the end of the day with a bag of chocolate as a “thank you for all you do”. Wow. To that lovely person we extend our thanks for making us feel that our hard work is appreciated. We’re very grateful.

Indeed we had such a lovely day on the 2nd March that we’ll be back on the 23rd! We’ll have the full woodland tent with us this time: shoppers of St Nicholas Arcade, Lancaster won’t be able to miss us! If you’re around In The City, we hope to see you there!

(NB the complimentary drinks – of the hot caffeinated variety thanks to a local cafe – were much appreciated, though oddly canapes never did materialise!)



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: