Programme 2021

For this 31st Festival we continue our adventure online, with the opportunity for everyone who has a web connection to access events. The Year of Coasts and Waters runs through the programme, with stories of tidal turbines and Arctic journeys, shore life and sea-cliffs, and the sights and sounds of the island of Swona with its seals and shipwreck stories.

Topics range from genetics to geology, from archaeology to astrophysics and the latest discoveries from gravitational waves. We will hear how a Shetland man tackled saved many lives from smallpox two centuries ago, and how Indigenous medicines helped the Orkneymen who worked at Hudson’s Bay.

We will find out about finds at the Ness of Brodgar and hear about the mathematics of the Neolithic. We will link up with an international islands event and speak to islands worldwide about turning island waste into resources. We will learn how a boy born 300 years in Kirkwall became one of the great engravers of the day, designing a Jacobite banknote for Bonnie Prince Charlie but in the end getting a knighthood from George III.

There is music inspired by astronomy, and music inspired by Norse stories and northern landscapes, and we will meet composers whose work is influenced by environmental issues.

All the events are free, apart from several workshops where numbers are limited, with the ticket for some including materials. Just about all the events will be streamed through YouTube, for easy access. And wherever you are, you are warmly welcome to join us!

Competitions 2021

The Molecule Hunt went online for 2020 and in 2021 it was joined online by several new competitions aimed at schools and families. There is the challenge to build a wind turbine or design a bridge, to find a new way to depict the Kirkwall Mart prices, to survey Orkney seaweed or to make some creative use of traditional Orkney words for wildlife.

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