University of Birmingham Arts & Science spring listings announced

2019-2020 Arts & Science Festival concludes with a season dedicated to hope.

The University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival 2019-2020 concludes with a spring season dedicated to hope. Amidst the difficult issues of environmental crises and climate change that are so present in the news, the Festival aims to shed light on the individual acts we can all make towards a brighter future, and the role that conversation, creativity and community have in inspiring hope.

While scientific knowledge and technological innovations are going to be essential in solving the climate crisis, they are not sufficient on their own. In Poetry in an age of environmental crisis on 20 May, Professor John Holmes will show how poetry can help us to face up to the impact that human beings are having
on the environment and on other living things, and to find the imagination and the hope required to get us, individually and collectively, through to a better, more sustainable future.

On a similar vein, visitors to Project Indiacts: How to Improve the World, One Individual Action at a Time on 23 March can contribute to University research on how to make small steps for a better planet. The Project IndiActs ( is ingham citya website full of very practical, bite-sized (but well-researched) tips and suggestions to make it easier for people to take action and contribute to a better world. The project team invite practical suggestions from visitors that can be added to this important area of research.

There is a botanical thread weaving through many of this spring’s events. Artist Matt Westbrook and world orchid authority Philip Seaton present the Silent Orchid Festival in May. Visitors are encouraged to buy an orchid seedling and nurture it to full flower on a windowsill or desk, within ceramic plants pots created by Westbrook. A number of the orchids will be accompanied by hand-made vessels, inspired by political cartoons of Joseph Chamberlain – these will be gifted to offices, museums and venues at the University to form a sculptural trail across campus.

Deeper Routes on 14th May is a walk inspired by the wild trees and parkland of the University campus. Led by Christiane Worth in partnership with Still Walking, this walk explores the uses of trees and the practical and ornamental choices made in their selection.

Music fans can look forward to three days of meetings and ideas at this year’s Beast FEaST: Come Together from 30 April to 2 May. A weekend of electronic music and art, BEAST FEaST 2020 aspires to joyously defy the idea of a disunited world, to explore ideas of optimism, reconciliation and restoration, and celebrate the ways that electronic music can bring us together.

The University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival 2019-2020 is a celebration of research, culture and collaboration across campus and beyond. In place of its usual weeklong slot, the festival’s seventh edition is a 12-month programme designed to showcase the University’s striking new parkland, the Green Heart.

Read the full programme at