Concerts, contemporary circus, lectures, performed and cinema these are some of the proposals of the first International Science Festival in Portugal, which for six days offers more than a thousand hours of scientific, cultural and artistic programming, in Oeiras.
From October 12th to 17th, the Marquês de Pombal Gardens and Palace, in Oeiras, brings the pioneering edition of an international science festival (FIC.A), with a totally free program – division between auditoriums, cinema, literary space, exhibition areas or areas dedicated to sport and a gastronomic area -, which also includes an educational programme, prepared to receive 20 thousand students and contribute to their education and scientific culture, according to the organization.
It is a “different initiative”, a “festival inspired by the British tradition of science festivals and that is different from the models we are used to by its interactivity”, Rúben Oliveira, scientific director of Senciência, the company that organizes the event, told Lusa event.
It is in its essence a festival, because it not only has a scientific and technological program, but also a cultural and artistic program, which makes it a “True celebration of science, which is what we want”.
Among the proposals for these days, Rúben Oliveira highlights the participation of North American biologist Thomas Lovejoy, who has been researching the Amazon for over 50 years and is considered the father of biological diversity, “a name that appears in manuals and history books on ecology and biodiversity”.
“We have Timothy Caulfield [investigador canadiano] which is dedicated to ethics in health and has worked a lot on the theme of misinformation in health, which stands out with a pandemic, and we wanted this to be a prominent theme at the festival”, he stressed.
In terms of art, the festival director highlights a noiserv concert at night, with the usual light show and musical performance associated with “a lot of technology”.
“We are also going to have a circus, based on a European project that will be implemented in Portugal by MagdaClan, which is a contemporary Italian circus company, in partnership with Chapitô,” he added.
As for authors, there are names such as the German journalist Jürgen Kaube, who will not only participate in a session with authors, but will also give a lecture on the theory of everything – how it all started, from the smallest question to the most studied -, or the British author and editor of the journal Nature for over twenty years, Philip Ball, who will bring a “vision of common patterns between art and nature, how nature inspires art”.
The FIC.A will also have the participation of several curators, “who represent some of the most brilliant minds in the country”, from Emanuel Gonçalves, who will give a presentation on oceans, Elvira Fortunato (Prémio Pessoa and world pioneer specialist in paper electronics), that we talk to schools and we talk about the technology to develop, or Zita Martins, who will talk about astrobiology.
Barry Fitzgerald, Irish author and communicator dedicated to exploring the science behind superheroes, author Amy Stewart and Harvard University science historian Naomi Oreskes are other names associated with participating in the event.
As for certain, they are also segmented by target audience, programmed for children, for example, an exhibition about dinosaurs, which comes from Dino Parque, in Lourinhã.
Another of the conclusions via the Polish embassy and about the Bestiary of Lem, which links notions of monster and beast to a technological part, and recreates some beasts and monsters with this vision, explained the festival director.
Other exhibition proposals are the “Expedition of the deep sea”, which arrives from the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere, a ‘mapping’ video by the Cuban-American artist Agnes Chavez, or a more diversified exhibition that comes from the Algarvensis Geopark, candidate for geopark from the Algarve, which had a “fantastic art, science and nature initiative during the summer, and will bring some pieces that it produced”.
The link between science and sports and gastronomy are two other bets of the organization, which are materialized in the program, either through the participation of the Olympic vice-champion Patrícia Mamona and the Portuguese Football and Athletics Federations, or the Portuguese “mixologist” Constança Lamb.
The festival will run for six days, between 10:00 and 23:00, mainly aimed at schools in the early hours and, at the end of the afternoon, with a program for adults and families.
“There can be a little of everything: at three you’ll be watching a lecture, at four you’ll see a film session, at five you’ll see an exhibition, at nine concerts and at ten you’ll be in a bookstore, in a session with experienced authors. There are all these formats within the FIC.A”, explained Rúben Oliveira.
The main concern of the programmers was that the festival “speak to everyone and for each one”, due to having segmented as activities: what is for children, what educational cycles, what is for adults, what is for the public senior, added the responsible, adding that the festival is designed to receive, in addition to students, over 20 thousand people, a total of around 40 thousand participants.
The festival schedule is available at organization page.