Take part in FUTURES2022

Researchers, are you interested in taking part in the FUTURES2022 research engagement festival taking place on the last weekend in September? Take a look at the activities offering researchers the opportunity to get involved.


What is FUTURES2022?

FUTURES2022 is a festival of discovery that celebrates the research and innovation taking place right across the South West of England. At hubs in Bath and Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and online an exciting programme of events and activities will engage audiences with research in fun, entertaining, and inspiring ways.  The FUTURES festival has been running since 2018 and is a collaboration between Bath Spa University, University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Exeter and University of Plymouth.


Why get involved?

FUTURES2022 is a unique opportunity to engage a broad audience with your research. You’ll not only raise awareness about your research but also discuss ideas that may shape the research and its impacts on society, and develop your skills in public engagement with research.


When is FUTURES2022?

Most FUTURES2022 will take place Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October 2022. Some will happen in the weeks that follow.


How to get involved

The FUTURES team has developed a programme of different activities taking place across the South West for you to get involved in over the last weekend in September. These include hands-on experiments, science shows, games, quizzes and exhibitions in venues and with partners across the region. Check out the descriptions of the activities below and if any take your fancy let us know by filling out the Expression of Interest form. You’ll then receive more information from the organisers.


In Bath and Bristol 

Bridging Divides talks at Brunel’s S.S. Great Britain

Friday 30 Sept, 19:00 – 20:30 

Onboard SS Great Britain you will be part of a mini-series of thought-provoking and inspiring short talks and poetry readings based on how we are building a more inclusive society. Your talk or poetry reading could focus on how research is tackling the legacies of the trans-Atlantic slave trade or highlight inequalities that divide our society. The series will show how researchers and citizens are coming together to build a happy, more prosperous future. Talks will be scheduled so that each researcher will speak twice for up to 15 minutes. The event will have a compere who will make introductions and manage breaks.

The event will be ticketed for adults and families attending Up Late, an evening’s “take over” of Brunel’s SS Great Britain; Bridging Divides will be one of the main features of the evening’s activities.

PUB-lic Conversations at Various venues in Bristol city centre

Various dates and times in October 

Bring your research to life for new audiences by engaging people in conversations about important issues affecting our society. Delivered in local pubs, cafes and community spaces across Bristol, you will get a chance to explain your research through short and engaging informal conversations that will reach the heart of local communities in Bristol.

Group projects are welcome. Guidance from the Public Engagement Team will support you to develop your conversation which will range in length, depending on the group size. Events will be free but ticketed.

Test Tubes and Time Travel

Recording in August and September 

Working with Kilter Theatre we’re presenting an immersive location-based digital walk around the City of Bath, Test Tubes and Time Travel. To be part of this unique tour all you have to do is pick a site in Bath that inspires you or could be (tangentially) related to your research and talk about your research area for 90 seconds on camera before the end of September, easy as that!

Biology in Action at Bath Spa University

(Exact Date TBC)

Showcase your research on the land, effects of pesticides, the importance of bees and other insects, sustainable and future food, informed food choices, and other related topics. Using the specialist learning and laboratory facilities at Bath Spa University, up to 10 researchers will deliver a series of lectures and interactive workshops to raise public awareness and sense of urgency of issues relating to soil, health and food.


In Exeter

Pop-Up Curiosity Shop of Science and Culture at the Make Tank

Friday 30 Sept & Saturday 1 Oct 2022

The Pop-Up Curiosity shop is like an informal science fair for the public – but much more fun and with a much wider remit to include all areas of research alongside music and performance. We’re looking for researchers to hold interactive activities, give demos, hold workshops, host stands, or give short talks. We can help you to develop an idea. We promise a fun celebration of bonkers discovery and intriguing culture filled with science, mayhem, research and more in the centre of Exeter. Theatre, demos, talks, workshops, and even robots will bring to life the brilliant work that happens at UoE. This is an opportunity for members of the public to meet scientists, historians, medics, and mathematicians, and more.

Walkie Talkies around the South West

Friday 30 Sept & Saturday 1 Oct 2022

We’re looking for academics from UoE and beyond, at varied career stages, to guide walks with small groups of 5 -20 people and reveal varied research and in an exciting array of locations. Example ideas might be: Exploring a moorland restoration project on Dartmoor National Park; Investigating links between environment, health and oceans through a tour of the fishing town Falmouth; Discovering the ancient worlds and biodiversity of our planet through a tour of Reed Hall gardens in Exeter; or walking around Exeter to demonstrate a new app. This engaging format is the ultimate ‘show and tell’, powerfully bringing research to life, demonstrating findings, and taking the public right into the inspiring places where vital work happens. We can help you to develop an idea.

Curiosity pop-ups, taking place in schools & online

Autumn/Winter 2022

Curiosity pop-ups will take place in secondary schools across Devon and Cornwall with the aim to inspire and excite students about science. We’re looking for researchers to go in to schools to give short accessible talks, demonstrate research, host activities, and inspire young people. Activities will build on current events that are organised by the University of Exeter Outreach team which is committed to enabling social mobility through education. These workshops might give students a taste of what they can expect at the Pop-Up Curiosity Shop of Science and Culture. We can help to develop an idea or provide advice and training to researchers without previous experience.

In and around Plymouth

Voyage of discovery #2 at Plymouth Albion Rugby Club

Saturday 1 October, 10:00-16:00

Take families on a voyage of discovery at a popular sporting venue on their doorstep. You will be part of a series of exciting, accessible, interactive, and hands-on exhibits showcasing the university’s cutting-edge research from all disciplines throughout the day. Your exhibit will help children and families gain an understanding of a broad range of interesting topics and technologies in research including renewable energy, healthy oceans, robotics, design, three-dimensional media, virtual reality, and digital fabrication. Both individual and group exhibits of live demonstrations and activities for children and families are welcome.

Online/remote events

Ask me Anything

Using social news platform Reddit, Ask Me Anythings are crowdsourced interviews – a digital text-based live Q+A session between researchers and Reddit users about their research. We are running a number of Ask Me Anythings over FUTURES2022 and you can take part from the comfort of your own home. All you need to do is write a brief description of yourself and your research and then be available for one hour during your Ask Me Anything slot (usually between 5pm and 10pm) on the chosen day to answer questions over the course of that time that come in from Reddit users.

Discover and Discuss

Activity taking place with schools between October 2022 – June 2023 

Resources will need to be developed by October 2022

Transform your research into a fun and interactive activity for school children. Your activity (and optional kit funded by FUTURES) could take various forms such as model making, mini-experiments, videos, or downloadable resource sheets. Classes of up to 30 children (aged 7-11) will complete the activity in school and then participate in a 45-minute web chat with you. These follow up webchats will provide an opportunity for you to discuss your activity further and answer questions from school children about your research, how and why you became a researcher, and what it is like to be a researcher. Pupils will be encouraged to express their curiosity and explore their perceptions of what research is.

Activities designed by both individuals and groups are welcome, training will be provided.

The activity resources for Discover and Discuss will also be shared on the FUTURES website as part of DO Try This at Home activities for families to do at home; this activity will also be advertised by the Children’s University.

Express an interest

If you would like to get involved in any of these activities or want to find out more about them let us know by filling out our Researcher Expression of Interest form. If you have any questions please email