FESTIVAL PROGRAMME 2024

5 - 11

September

This is the ideal opportunity to explore Orkney – and travel to the frontiers of science at the same time! We’ll tell the story of the making of the Pentland Firth with images of the cliffs of Hoy and Caithness – and we’ll also provide a night out with the Hoy community, with a light supper to start and a return evening boat from Stromness.

We’ll hear the story of how gold is made in the stars, with the clues from gravitational waves – and then we will go for a swim to hear music inspired by these waves; and to make some of our own!

We will walk to a loch in the hills with the family of an Orkney writer, and hear about another Orkney writer with a remarkable image of the nature of time. We will hear music from Faroese, Scottish and Irish composers, and see images of northern landscapes.

We will hear of ways in which we can grow more food and help our own resilience through uncertain times – growing in the garden and gathering from the shore, and we will hear about a chain of stores that put the growers and the community first.

We will hear about seagrass and seafood and seaweed habitats in Japan, health data and hydrogen, genetics and geology, solar power in Africa and coral reefs in Malaysia and Slovenia’s lakes and mountains.

There is a rich mix of exhibitions as well – with artwork telling the story of the Shackleton expedition in this 150th anniversary year of his both, and the cometary discoveries of Caroline Herschel; and with a look at the lives of two men who did so much for the study of rocks and minerals in Orkney and Scotland.

Through this programme you can pack more into seven days in Orkney than might have seemed possible before!

This is the ideal opportunity to explore Orkney – and travel to the frontiers of science at the same time! We’ll tell the story of the making of the Pentland Firth with images of the cliffs of Hoy and Caithness – and we’ll also provide a night out with the Hoy community, with a light supper to start and a return evening boat from Stromness.

We’ll hear the story of how gold is made in the stars, with the clues from gravitational waves – and then we will go for a swim to hear music inspired by these waves; and to make some of our own!

We will walk to a loch in the hills with the family of an Orkney writer, and hear about another Orkney writer with a remarkable image of the nature of time. We will hear music from Faroese, Scottish and Irish composers, and see images of northern landscapes.

We will hear of ways in which we can grow more food and help our own resilience through uncertain times – growing in the garden and gathering from the shore, and we will hear about a chain of stores that put the growers and the community first.

We will hear about seagrass and seafood and seaweed habitats in Japan, health data and hydrogen, genetics and geology, solar power in Africa and coral reefs in Malaysia and Slovenia’s lakes and mountains.

There is a rich mix of exhibitions as well – with artwork telling the story of the Shackleton expedition in this 150th anniversary year of his both, and the cometary discoveries of Caroline Herschel; and with a look at the lives of two men who did so much for the study of rocks and minerals in Orkney and Scotland.

Through this programme you can pack more into seven days in Orkney than might have seemed possible before!

BROWSE BY EVENTS CATEGORIES

  • Living on the Moon, and finding how gold is formed amongst the stars. The story of the Pentland Firth and its currents, and the fulmars on Eynhallow. The science of superheroes, and the superpowers of sea creatures. The power of music to help with health. How lifeboats are designed, and the story of the transatlantic telegraph cable. How people around the world are finding environmental solutions – from expanding fish habitats in Japan to protecting coral reefs in Malaysia, from solar power in Africa to new marine energy horizons in Orkney. How Kirkwall Town Council brought in mains electricity 100 years ago, and how Orkney County Council helped North Sea oil flow 50 years later.

  • Hear about gravitational waves – and swim with music inspired by them. Take a boat trip to Hoy for an island evening. Enjoy physics and gin. Sift through rubbish – suitably clean! – to find clues to its users in the way that archaeologists. Find out about science and health at the Balfour Hospital and hear the story of the nearby Arcadia Park.

  • There are two Cathedral concerts – one features organ and choral music, and the other highlights Faroese, Scottish and Irish composers of today. We have music inspired by astronomy, and songs of the great days of Lanarkshire fruit-growing. We also hear how music can help health, including dementia.

  • Come with us on film to Stroma and the Caithness coats and the Old Man of Hoy, to discover the forces that made the Pentland Firth, with its richly varied cliffs and its powerful tides. A film on seaweed shows it in many forms, with the voices of harvesters and the sound of the sea, and Skaill House makes an ideal setting.

  • This year’s exhibition themes range from earth to sky. There is the story of two Orkney geologists, and paintings of an Antarctic journey through ice floes and mountainous seas. There are star plates to show the night sky discoveries of comets, and a patchwork quilt to mark a famous bicentenary. There are images of shore life and seaweed, and links for language and landscape, and of building in Orkney earth and stone – and there is a look at the years of discovery at the Ness of Brodgar.

BROWSE BY EVENTS CATEGORIES

  • Living on the Moon, and finding how gold is formed amongst the stars. The story of the Pentland Firth and its currents, and the fulmars on Eynhallow. The science of superheroes, and the superpowers of sea creatures. The power of music to help with health. How lifeboats are designed, and the story of the transatlantic telegraph cable. How people around the world are finding environmental solutions – from expanding fish habitats in Japan to protecting coral reefs in Malaysia, from solar power in Africa to new marine energy horizons in Orkney. How Kirkwall Town Council brought in mains electricity 100 years ago, and how Orkney County Council helped North Sea oil flow 50 years later.

  • This year’s exhibition themes range from earth to sky. There is the story of two Orkney geologists, and paintings of an Antarctic journey through ice floes and mountainous seas. There are star plates to show the night sky discoveries of comets, and a patchwork quilt to mark a famous bicentenary. There are images of shore life and seaweed, and links for language and landscape, and of building in Orkney earth and stone – and there is a look at the years of discovery at the Ness of Brodgar.

  • Tour the Ness of Brodgar site right after this year’s closing excavations. See where Orkney’s wave and tidal research is carried out. Seek a breakthrough use of AI of special value to island communities. Walk on an Orkney writer's favourite route, and find out how to develop a kitchen garden.

  • The Peedie Kirk lunches are back, with a buffet of Orkney fare and the chance to meet old friends and new in a welcoming setting. The One O’Clock Toast each day features a well-known Orkney figure. Later evening events in the Orkney Club are sometimes in conversational format, and sometimes with music as well.

  • Hear about gravitational waves – and swim with music inspired by them. Take a boat trip to Hoy for an island evening. Enjoy physics and gin. Sift through rubbish – suitably clean! – to find clues to its users in the way that archaeologists. Find out about science and health at the Balfour Hospital and hear the story of the nearby Arcadia Park.

  • There are two Cathedral concerts – one features organ and choral music, and the other highlights Faroese, Scottish and Irish composers of today. We have music inspired by astronomy, and songs of the great days of Lanarkshire fruit-growing. We also hear how music can help health, including dementia.

  • Come with us on film to Stroma and the Caithness coats and the Old Man of Hoy, to discover the forces that made the Pentland Firth, with its richly varied cliffs and its powerful tides. A film on seaweed shows it in many forms, with the voices of harvesters and the sound of the sea, and Skaill House makes an ideal setting.

  • The Family Day has a wonderful range of activities. And in this centenary year of mains electricity in Orkney, the Arcs and Sparks show is back – with dramatic displays of indoor lightning! And Mr Boom’s spaceship is already warming up its engines for the journey!

  • Calling all schools! We have a very full programme of activities for you - two programmes indeed, one primary and one secondary. The activities all come direct to the school, so they can be scheduled into the class timetable.

  • Can you create a new cocktail, combining Kirkjuvagr gin with your own choice of additions, to make a festival cocktail that we can feature? And the Molecule Hunt will be back, with more details coming soon.

play video

OISF 2024 PROGRAMME LAUNCH

Festival director Howie Firth outlines some of the many events in this year’s programme – from Malaysian coral to fulmars on Eynhallow, from ice in the Antarctic to gold in the stars.

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