DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival goes virtual for 2021

The DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival will go ahead in February despite the Covid-19 pandemic – but all events this year will be held online. 

Celebrating the town’s most famous son, the festival will take place between February 9 and 17, and once again promises to provide plenty of thought-provoking and inspiring events. 

The programme has now been launched, highlighting a variety of fascinating subjects to be explored during the nine days – and there is no need to miss out on any of them as they will all be streamed live on the internet, as well as being available to watch on demand through an online archive. 

Partners of the festival include Shrewsbury School, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Shropshire Museums, Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings, The Royal Society of Biology and Shrewsbury BID, which will also be coordinating the event.   

Emma Molyneux, of Shrewsbury BID, said: “We are delighted that the DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival is coming up – it’s something we all look forward to and always proves popular with those who have an interest in anything to do with Charles Darwin. 

“It will be quite different this year due to the pandemic, but everyone connected with the festival was keen to make sure it still went ahead. 

“Every event will be thought-provoking and designed to encourage independent thinking and curiosity – which, after all, was what Darwin was all about. 

“I would encourage everyone to visit the website where they can register to view the events live, and watch them on demand following the festival.” 

The programme includes a series of short films including Taking Stock of the World, Biodiversity and Extinctions and The Darker Side of Museums from Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, which will be available throughout the festival. 

There will be a presentation on February 10, called Evolution Before Our Eyes – How Viruses Survive, organised by Shrewsbury School. An extremely relevant lecture during the Covid-19 pandemic looking at how viruses survive and trying to understand viral evolution. 

Dr Simon Jeffery, a soil microbial ecologist at Harper Adams University, will be discussing the role soil plays in our food provision on February 11, and festival founder Jon King will be inviting people to join him on February 12 in a toast to Charles Darwin on the great man’s birthday. 

There’s a science quiz on February 14 and a look at ‘Things That Go Bang in the Night’ the following evening, focusing on how astronomers are using the latest methods to explore the universe and how we can all get involved. 

Then, on February 17, a panel of experts from Shropshire Wildelife Trust will be on hand to answer questions by those aged between 11 and 24 on a theme of What Would Darwin Make of Shropshire Now? 

For more details and to view the full programme visit the website at https://darwin.originalshrewsbury.co.uk/ 

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