From Collecting Curiosities to Celebrating Diversity

Join Dr June Jones, College Lead on Diversity and Head of the Repatriation Programme, and Professor Jonathan Reinarz, Professor of the History of Medicine, for a tour of the current Medical School exhibition which highlights the amazing achievements of UoB alumni.

Learn more about the work of Professor Arthur Thomson and Professor Thomas Adeoye Lambo, each strategic in developing Nigerian health care, the work of Dr Arshya Vahabzadeh in developing google glasses for children with autism, and the first female President of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dame Hilda Lloyd. Amongst our famous alumni, there are also hidden treasures, such as the student known as ‘Llandudno’ – a refugee from war-torn Vietnam who applied to continue his medical education at Birmingham.

The exhibition also celebrates Maori and Salinan Native American repatriations undertaken over the last four years by University of Birmingham, the only UK institution to proactively contact indigenous groups to offer to return skulls held as part of its ancient anatomy collection.
Presented by the History of Medicine Unit in partnership with the Institute of Clinical Sciences.

Marxist Football: You Cannot Be Theory-ous?

Come and take part in a game of three-sided football and experience the illicit thrill of running around slightly out of breath within a conceptual sports framework.

Three-sided football was devised by the Danish artist and philosopher Asger Jorn. Jorn was a member of the Situationist International, an organisation of political theorists, intellectuals and avant-garde artists who, disillusioned by advanced capitalism, sought the liberation of everyday life.

Jorn created the idea of three-sided football to explain his refinement of the Marxist dialectic (resulting in his notion of ‘triolectics’). Three-sided football is played on a hexagonal pitch with three teams instead of the usual two, the winning team is that which concedes the least number of goals.

Presented by General Public and the School of Education

Absconditi Viscus

Join sound artist Justin Wiggan for the launch of Absconditi Viscus, a series of phonic excavations from Birmingham City University School of Art’s archives during the period 1914 to 1918.

Following a series of public workshops, Wiggan presents five sound pieces which have been embedded into the fabric of the building at Margaret Street and are accessible only through QR codes. Visitors are invited to use their smart phones to access the sound files which will enable them to engage with the phonic residue left within the fabric of the School of Art building on Margaret Street after those four years of political and social turbulence.
Absconditi Viscus is an ongoing project which considers the notion of historical phonic information that is lost but continues to permeate and affect physical and psychological space, leaving a legacy for subsequent generations.

Presented by Justin Wiggan in partnership with Birmingham City University and Voices of War and Peace.

Barber Lates: Spirited Bodies

Head to the Barber galleries for a relaxed life-drawing session with Spirited Bodies, an activist organisation that champions body positivity, feminism and personal empowerment through the practices of life modelling and life drawing.

Explore notions of body image and acceptance, and talk to the models while you draw, allowing these conversations to inform your drawing.

Picnic in the Desert

Join the Empires of Emptiness academic curator, Dr Berny Sèbe (Senior Lecturer in colonial and post-colonial studies) in conversation with Dr Benedetta Rossi (Lecturer in African Studies) as they discuss desert life, nomadism and imperial control in the Sahara.

Bring your packed lunch and join us for a dialogue combining history, anthropology and photography to better understand one of the most extreme environments on Earth, and how it has shaped human beings over centuries.

Nocturnes: Welcome/ Home

Join The Barber for an evening of activity reflecting on themes of home and belonging.

Listen to Lightning Talks in the galleries, participate in creative workshops, and consider what ‘home’ means to you.


PechaKucha is a simple presentation format whereby speakers show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and presenters talk along to the images. The format is designed to stop waffling and tedious PowerPoint and encourage creativity and playfulness.

PechaKucha is an international network of events originating at the Klein Dytham architecture firm in Tokyo in 2003. You never know what to expect at a PK night and that’s the beauty of them.

For Arts & Science Festival, PechaKucha Birmingham presents a land and water themed event, and features a mix of speakers including University of Birmingham academics, and indeed anyone who would like to present. If that’s you, please get in touch by emailing

Presented by PechaKucha Birmingham in partnership with Arts & Science Festival

Expanded Intimacy

Expanded Intimacy is a new collaborative research project by artist Nuala Clooney and Kaye Winwood, Creative Producer and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Birmingham.

Working in partnership with Steve Williams, an award-winning glassblower based in the School of Chemistry’s glassblowing facility, Kaye and Nuala will produce prototypes of glass vessels designed to sensualise the food and drink experience.

For Arts & Science Festival they will collaborate with Robert Wood (Smultronstalle/The Wilderness/In Rob We Trust Ltd) for an unforgettable evening of culinary cocktail experimentation.

Presented by Kaye Winwood and Nuala Clooney in partnership with University of Birmingham and in collaboration with Robert Wood.

Creepy Caves

Join the Lapworth Museum of Geology for a family fun day exploring the hidden world of caves.

Often forming over millions of years by the weathering of rock, caves can extend deep underground – Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is the longest cave system in the world, at over 365 miles explored to date.

From stalactites and stalagmites, to cave-inhabiting animals and prehistoric cave art, this interactive event combines arts, craft, storytelling and performance to explore our creepy underworld.

Presented by the Lapworth Museum of Geology

Music Makes Waves: the collision between music, art and science

What makes music a social science and a tool for therapy? How and why does it touch the human spirit, both individually and collectively? How do science and technology influence the way we engage with music and with each other? The Music Makes Waves symposium will examine the role that music plays in our everyday lives, looking at its social and neurological impacts and how it contributes to wider culture.

Join trailblazing speakers from the worlds of music, art and science, including: James & Balandino from Integra Lab, a research group based at Birmingham Conservatoire who transform creativity by empowering people to explore sound and music; and Dr Renee Timmers, Sheffield University, whose research projects include music perception and the emotional experiences of music, to discover how music affects us and helps us make sense of the world around us.

 See the Music Makes Waves Eventbrite page for more details on speakers, full programme schedule & to register.

Qawwali Shrine has been supported through the National Lottery using public funding from Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts). The project is produced by Harmeet Chagger-Khan (Surfing Light Beams) and partners include Sampad South Asian Arts and University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology and BEAST.


An evening of calculated conviviality with real life math-magicians!

Join us for the first nation-wide live screening of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, this year led by Dr Hannah Fry (Associate Professor in the Mathematics of Cities, University College London).

In Secrets and Lies: The Hidden Power of Maths, Hannah will unmask the numbers, rules and patterns that secretly influence our lives.

Alongside the on-screen experiments, we’ll have a geometrical jamboree of demonstrations, performances and talks from our amazing researchers at University of Birmingham who’ll explore how maths underpins and connects everything from medical diagnoses, dentistry, and clinical trials to ethics, robotics and even how we’re born.

Presented by UoB Public Engagement in partnership with the Royal Institution and Thinktank Science Museum


Synse/ Non Synse

Imagine tasting a symphony, seeing Friday as a red square, or feeling sound on your face. These are examples of a neurological phenomenon called synaesthesia (the joining of the senses). Nearly everyone experiences some form of crossed senses, and it’s estimated that many more people have some recognisable and consistent form of synaesthesia than was previously imagined. The causes of synaesthesia are not fully understood, but scientists believe that both nature and nurture play a part.

Join artist and synaesthete Sarah Walden for this interactive synaesthetic workshop, in which she will work with you to discover how you perceive words, colours, sounds, spatiality and touch, and how these perceptions were first created in your brain.

Sarah’s doctorate research considers the nature of synaesthesia through contemporary media arts; rather than simply using art to recreate or represent the condition, Sarah aims to lift synaesthesia research from its medical/neurological/psychological roots, to engage with the generative sensory potential of this phenomenon through storytelling and advances in digital technology.

Presented by Sarah Walden, PhD candidate at Birmingham City University (AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Award) and Yasmeen Baig Clifford, Director at Vivid Projects and Honorary Research Associate at University of Birmingham.


Since last year Flatpack Festival has been investigating Birmingham in 1968, from activism and redevelopment to light-shows and heavy rock.

This event will celebrate the launch of a new publication which has emerged from this research, a beautiful slice of social history which includes photographs by Janet Mendelsohn and Nick Hedges as well as the story behind Birmingham Arts Lab, Mothers club and Black Sabbath. The University of Birmingham also plays a role in the story, from the influence of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies to the occupation of the Great Hall in late ’68.

The book’s author Ian Francis and a number of those who contributed memories and images will be present to talk about this unique period, and from 7:30pm Steve Ajao Blues Giants will play a selection of soul and blues numbers. The evening is also an opportunity to see Ikon’s new exhibition of paintings by John Walker, who like Steve Ajao is an alumnus of Moseley School of Art.

Presented by Flatpack Projects. Birmingham 68 is a Flatpack project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Bodies Saying Words

An evening of poetry readings and performances on embodied language with work by Jesper List Thomsen and Hanne Lippard.

‘Avoiding The Genius’ by Jesper List Thomsen is a new piece of writing to be read out loud. He uses language as a strategy to lift eight sculptures from their original landscape in the Villa Giulia, Palermo, Sicily.

Hanne Lippard has composed a new performance with some of her existing text-based works that explore language through rhythm, sound and visual forms of speech.

Jesper List Thomsen (born 1978, Denmark) is an artist and writer based in London. Hanne Lippard (born 1984, UK) is an artist based in Berlin.

Presented by Grand Union in partnership with Arts & Science Festival.


Join the University of Birmingham’s Observatory team for an evening of discovery under the night sky!

Astronomy in the City brings together cutting edge astronomy research and expert talks, with stargazing and observation using portable telescopes in the University’s Green Heart.

In January, the team are joined by Dr. Davide Gerosa, Lecturer in Gravitational Wave Astronomy at University of Birmingham. Light is crucial to astronomical discovery; everything we know about the Universe, from stars to planets to galaxies, is known to us by observing and measuring light. Straddling the boundaries between astronomy and relativity, gravitational waves provide a fundamentally new way of exploring the cosmos; why only look at the Universe when you can also hear it?

Presented by University of Birmingham Observatory, AstroSoc, Knowle Astronomical Society and the Alumni of the University of Birmingham


University of Birmingham artist in residence, Lynn Dennison, uses film, installation and collage to explore our relationship with the natural world. Interested in the idea of a fear of the landscape, she creates artworks that evoke the enormity of nature. Many of her installations reference ideas of climate change and consider the possibility of water overwhelming a domestic scene or flooding a building.

During her residency, Lynn has recorded footage of water at the University’s Raymond Priestley Centre on the western shore of Coniston Water in the Lake District. For Arts & Science Festival, Lynn will use this footage to project directly onto the University’s ‘Old Joe’ Clock Tower in an elevated and imposing display.

Join Lynn from 7.30pm for an introduction to her clock tower installation and hear more about her wider practice.

Presented by Lynn Dennison in partnership with Arts & Science Festival

Lapworth Lates: Relationships

A host of collaborators including artists, academics and students respond creatively to the Lapworth’s exceptional geological collection in this not-to-be-missed after-hours event.

The Lapworth takes on Valentine’s with a jam-packed evening dedicated to the complex world of ‘relationships’. From the romantic life of sea slugs to the unusual habits of vampire bats, from carnivorous animals to symbiosis in nature, the event is sure to shed light on the topic in new and intriguing ways.

Highlights include an AV performance and short film programme in partnership with Flatpack Festival and drop-in writing activity with The Pen Museum, alongside the usual line up of interactive exhibits and demonstrations.

Presented by the Lapworth Museum of Geology


The Cinema of Science

Dr Kate Ince, Reader in French Film and Gender Studies at the University of Birmingham, will introduce the nature films of French filmmaker and photographer Jean Painlevé,  providing an historical context to his first solo exhibition currently on display at Ikon.

The talk will consider Painlevé’s connections to the Surrealist movement and to contemporaries such as Man Ray and fellow French ‘cinema of science’ enthusiast Georges Franju.

Presented by Ikon in partnership with University of Birmingham.


Indulge your inner child and create some truly bonkers, wearable, dinosaur sculptures!

Taking inspiration from real dinosaur fossils, combined with recycled cardboard and a strong dose of imagination, you will create your very own bespoke dinosaur mask. We will then parade through the museum as a herd (?!) of D.I.YNOSAURS!

Presented by the Lapworth Museum of Geology