The Box Office is now open for Cambridge Literary Festival which runs from 5 – 7 April, bringing together novelists, scientists, politicians, broadcasters, campaigners and thinkers in lively conversation and engaged debate.
You’ll find a wealth of new fiction, world literature, memoir and more as well as a fabulous children’s programme which includes “Happy Birthday, Elmer!”, an interactive story time to celebrate everybody’s favourite multicoloured elephant.
From the New Statesman Debate, “This house believes identity politics is an impediment to progress”, to afternoon tea at the University Arms Hotel with broadcaster and author Jenni Murray, the Spring Festival has something for everyone.
Cambridge Science Festival is celebrating its 25th year and runs from 11 – 24 March, this year exploring the theme of “Discovery”. Hosting over 350 events, it will investigate a range of issues that affect our world today, from challenges around climate change policy, improving safety and quality in healthcare and adolescent mental health and will take a look at what the next 25 years holds for us.
There’s a packed schedule with events for all ages, most of which are free and which range from debates, talks, exhibitions, workshops, interactive activities, films, comedy and performances, all held in lecture theatres, museums, cafés and galleries around the city.
An enthusiastic audience clocks up over 60,000 visits to Festival events each year to explore the world of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. Run by the University of Cambridge, the Festival draws together independent organisations as well as University departments, centres and museums.
Significant scientific milestones to celebrate in 2019 include the 200th anniversary of Cambridge Philosophical Society (Cambridge’s oldest scientific society) and 150 years since the publication of the modern Periodic Table. This year’s Cambridge Gravity lecture will be presented by Sir Gregory Winter, a molecular biologist and 2018 Nobel Laureate, whose research has led to antibody therapies for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Events for children and families include “Hands-On Science” at Cambridge Science Centre with fun workshops that encourage creative thinking and which will lead to some inspiring scientific and engineering memories, “Moonwatch” at the Institute of Astronomy and “Little Explorers: Ice and Anti-Freeze”, a sensory story session at the Polar Museum for the under 5s with storyteller, Marion Leeper. Dr Tom Crawford will bring the history of maths to life, with the aid of live experiments and togas, in “It’s all Greek to me!” while Channel 4 presenter, Dr Hugh Hunt, plays with blocks, balls, bikes and boomerangs in “An engineer plays with toys”.
Events that are going in my diary include a talk from Jesus College Intellectual Forum on “Is technology making us miserable?”, “Gene eating: The truth about diets” with Dr Giles Yeo on how to break the cycle of pseudoscience and misinformation about dieting and “Truffle Hunt” in the Botanic Garden. You can don your dancing shoes to celebrate the Festival opening at a ceilidh and wrap up the festivities with “Sunday Papers Live”, a sociable mix of food, newspapers and science.
Download and browse the full Science Festival programme at www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk. You can pre book events through the website or via the Festival booking phone line on 01223 766766.
Watersprite International Student Film Festival aims to discover, showcase and nurture emerging young film making talent from around the world and to offer a springboard for the film makers of the future as they start their careers.
Screenings, talks by award winning industry professionals, panels and interactive events are free and open to all. Now in its 10th year, Watersprite 2019 has attracted over 1000 submissions from around 100 countries and, after two intensive rounds of judging, will be screening 26 nominated films at the Festival which runs from 7 – 10 March.
One of the things I love most about writing for my blog and this column is the people I meet. People who are getting on with their daily lives, have that light bulb moment and just go for it to create something wonderful in the city. People like Cathy Moore, founder of the Cambridge Literary Festival.
Cathy first came to the city to read History at Newnham College and was only the second person from her Liverpool comprehensive school to make it to the University of Cambridge. She also loved English and books so after graduation, Cathy built a career in publishing before taking some time out to be with her young family. A spell in teaching followed but Cathy returned to Cambridge and books, working part time in Waterstones and running their programme of events. That’s where she met writer Ali Smith and as the two of them chatted about the Hay Literary Festival, they wondered why there wasn’t a similar event in Cambridge.
Within months, Cathy had created Wordfest, doing everything herself and setting up twenty four events in three venues. That was back in March 2003. “There were about sixty literary festivals then”, Cathy tells me, “and now there are around four hundred in the UK, so we’re all in competition for the authors.” Wordfest grew, events regularly sold out and initiatives like the debut writers panel made it truly a festival for writers as well as readers. After gaining charitable status, Wordfest rebranded as Cambridge Literary Festival in 2014. It now brings Spring and Winter festivals to the city as well as one-off events through the year and since 2017 has delivered the Wimpole History Festival in partnership with the National Trust.
These days, Cathy isn’t doing everything herself! She and her small team have an office in Downing Place and they have strong support from patrons, media partnerships and sponsors. A band of volunteer stewards welcomes the many thousands of festival goers and enables events to run smoothly for both authors and audiences. More volunteers are always welcome so if you’re interested in giving your time (and enjoying some volunteer perks!), contact the team through the website.
Festival venues this year include several beautiful university spaces which are normally hidden from public view. Refreshments will be available at most of these so you can grab a quick drink and a snack between events. Heffers run a bookstall and there are author signings too.
I’m really excited for this winter’s Festival; it’s always a fun, buzzy weekend and the packed programme truly offers something for everyone, including a brand new Murder Mystery Musical from Sophie Hannah which sounds intriguing! You’ll find details of what’s on and a booking facility through the Festival website at www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com
This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the November issue of Velvet Magazine. Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk
Cambridge International Jazz Festivalruns from 13 – 27 November, bringing together the many strands of the city’s strong jazz scene and welcoming national and international jazz acts too. With a crammed schedule of vibrant live music at locations across Cambridge and celebrating a wide variety of jazz styles, the programme includes workshops (if you want to learn how to Lindy Hop, now’s your chance!), talks, films, family events and free entry fringe events. For full programme details and tickets, check out the Festival website www.cambridgejazzfestival.info
“Buy less, choose well, make it last” is designer Dame Vivienne Westwood’s message. With this mantra ringing in their ears, Cambridge Carbon Footprint brings us the Sustainable Fashion Festival on 17 November at St Barnabas Church on Mill Road, for all Cambridge fashionistas and for anyone who cares about the huge negative impact that fast fashion has on the environment. You’ll find a clothes swap party, a sewing themed textiles repair cafe, an interactive fashion show, sewing skillshares, a styling zone, workshops, talks and pop up sustainable fashion stalls offering new and vintage clothing. Take a look at www.cambridgecarbonfootprint.org for more.
So it’s that time of year ….. I’m making a list and checking it twice before heading off to Cambridge Made Christmas Fair which is my go to for original Christmas presents. The Fair is running from 29 November to 1 December at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church and will showcase the work of forty four designer-makers, artists and craftspeople. You’ll find a huge variety of handmade goodies including ceramics, jewellery, textiles, quilts, botanical toiletries, cards, decorations, toys and homewares. More details on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/927219054144713/
This post is part of my “New in Cambridge” column in the November issue of Velvet Magazine. Read more on http://www.velvetmag.co.uk
“Buy less, choose well, make it last” is designer Dame Vivienne Westwood’s message. With this mantra ringing in their ears, Cambridge Carbon Footprint is bringing the Sustainable Fashion Festival to St Barnabas Church on Mill Road on 17 November.
Clothing accounts for around 12% of global greenhouse emissions and is the world’s second largest industrial polluter. As clothing becomes cheaper, purchasing of fast fashion has increased but 30% of the clothing in our wardrobes is never worn. By choosing what we buy and wear with care, we can help to tackle climate crisis, environmental problems and exploitation of workers.
This Festival has a packed programme of events to help us towards a more eco-friendly wardrobe …..
….. a Pop Up Market and Fashion Show will include organic cotton lingerie and nightwear from AmaElla, socks which are guaranteed for 30 years from BuyMeOnce plus bags and accessories from Qhere who upcycle advertising banners and punctured bike tyre inner tubes into eco-friendly designs.
….. styling workshops with professional stylist Roberta Style Lee, founder of the Ethical Brand Directory. You need to pre-book these workshops via the website.
….. a panel discussion “Fashion the Future” with leaders from the sustainable fashion movement including the founders of AmaElla, BuyMeOnce, Petit Pli (who create ingeniously designed clothing that grows with your child) and Mamoq (a market place for sustainable, ethical clothing).
….. upcycling workshops so you can create a Christmas jumper. Just turn up with your own plain jumper and they’ll supply the bling!
….. a sewing themed Repair Cafe and Sewing Skillshare for repairs to clothes (best to book in advance to avoid a wait) or for one to one help with your sewing skills.
….. a women’s wear Clothes Swapping Party, so bring along a few bits of clothing with accessories and shoes too if you like.
Plus you can get creative at the Kettle’s Yard drop-in and refuel at the cafe which will serve homemade cakes from the Cambridge Ladybirds WI.
This is a brilliant free event for all Cambridge fashionistas and for anyone who cares about the huge negative impact that fast fashion has on the environment. Full details of the day are on the website.
Cambridge Film Festival celebrates film past, present and future, showcases new talent and brings film makers to the city for eight glorious days of screenings and events from 25 October to 1 November.
I met with Kayleigh Barnes, Marketing Co-ordinator at Cambridge Film Trust to find out more about this year’s Festival schedule. Every year (in what sounds to me like a really fabulous job!) the Festival programmers visit major international film festivals – think London, Cannes, Berlin and Venice. Their quest is to discover the best new films and documentaries out there and to bring a varied line up back to Cambridge, giving us a rare chance to see great films that we might otherwise miss.
Kayleigh and I talked about the diverse strands of programming that run alongside the main feature films and documentaries. The Family Film Festival offers daytime film screenings suitable for all ages, with linked children’s arts and crafts activities and a BAFTA workshop while the Short Film programme brings us shorts from around the world. For a film maker, having your work shown in this category is very prestigious indeed; in a lengthy selection process, hundreds of submissions are reviewed by a panel of film industry experts and each film is watched by three reviewers before a final forty films make the cut.
For fans of old movies, there’s a Silence and Sounds classics programme, screening vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment. Experimental film making is showcased in the Microcinema programme while the very popular Camera Catalonia screens a selection of the best Catalan films. Partnerships with the Cambridge African Film Festival and the Korean Cultural Centre enrich the Festival programme with contemporary films from across Africa and Korea.
Cambridge Film Trust, a charity founded to promote film culture and education in the East of England, runs this event under the leadership of Festival Director, Toby Jones. The Festival’s main venue is the Arts Picturehouse Cinema in St Andrew’s Street with screenings also being held at Emmanuel College just opposite and The Light Cinema at Cambridge Leisure Park.
Check out the Festival website where you’ll find the full programme of screenings and events and through which you can book tickets.