About OISF

The Festival is put together by a team of people across Orkney and beyond. It is run by a not-for-profit company, whose chairman for more than two decades was the late Eoin Scott. Other members include Josh Gourlay, Bryce Wilson, William Annal, Graham Bichan and Phyllis Brown. Previous board members who assisted with the development of the Festival included Alex Bain, Roy Flett and Mike Drever.

Joan Mackie looks after finance and administration, and the work of delivery is carried out by a committee. John Leith is in charge of all technical matters, and Irene Bews coordinates the door team and the Family Day, with the assistance of Wendy and Mary Bews. Ron and Fiona Celli organise poster and leaflet distribution. Other members include Sandy Firth, who looks after the Festival bus tours, geologist Dr John Flett Brown, Ken Ross, well-known from his years at the Hydro and with Orkney Energy Agency, IT specialist Sweyn Hunter, film-maker James Stead, and teacher Dr Erland Johnston.

Food writer and food product develop Liz Ashworth organises the food events, and the drink events are coordinated by Dr Tim Dolan, the secretary of the Scottish section of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

Numerous clubs, societies and community groups assist through organising individual events. Amongst these are Orkney Vintage Club through Bill Stevenson, Orkney Camera Club (Steve Henderson), the St Magnus Church Birsay Trust (Bertie Harvey), and the Peedie Kirk (Helen Muir).

The artwork, design and all visual aspects are looked after by the artist Selena S. Kuzman.

The coordination of events in the islands is through the kind help of various organisations and people, who include Kathleen Scott of North Ronaldsay Community Association, Peter Ford of the Gable End Theatre in Lyness, and Rebecca Marr at Hoy Kirk.

Over the years, the Festival has awarded honorary life memberships to a number of people. The first was the late Thora Bain, who had an immense interest and knowledge about all aspects of Orkney, and the second was the late Dr Elaine Bullard, the Orkney botanist.

Other Honorary Life members include Dr Tim Dolan, Alex Bain, Mike Drever, Bryce Wilson, Sandy Firth, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, Dr Edvard Kobal who is the director of the Slovenian Science Foundation and a regular visitor, and Prof. Tom Stevenson who has given a talk in every festival since its start in 1991.

The Festival is directed by Dr Howie Firth, who was the first director of the original Edinburgh International Science Festival.


This was my very first visit to Orkney and therefore, my first exposure to the vibrant and exhilarating Science Festival. It was an incredible week – the Festival pulsated! It was far larger and far better supported than I would have thought possible.