THE very popular Dunbar Scifest, which last year attracted over 2,500 visitors, returns this year with even more talks and workshops to allow youngsters to get engaged with, and be inspired by, science, technology and engineering.
Dunbar SciFest is organised by the Science Sub-Group of Dunbar Primary School’s Parent Council, which also organises Dunbar Science Club, which runs three Saturday morning workshops, twice a month.
During the autumn of 2010, the sub group considered how they could utilise the talents of the large numbers of parents who are working scientists to help the school better deliver science to pupils.
They decided to set up a science club that would be run by parents to switch kids on to science and, by demonstrating the extraordinary diversity of science career opportunities available locally, inspire them to want to study science up to degree level and become the next generation of successful Scottish scientists.
In order to inspire scientist parents to give up their precious Saturday mornings, the group came up with the idea of creating a small science festival to get families involved and motivate parents to get involved in supporting the delivery of science in Dunbar Primary School, initially through the monthly Saturday morning science club!
The initial event in 2011 was a huge success and brought the local and wider Scottish science community together in the town. More than 2,000 visitors attended the first SciFest which was funded by the Dunbar Community Council, EDF Energy (Torness), Community Windpower and Dunbar Primary School Parent Council.
Last year’s event was even bigger and better. There were 40 different event providers and 49 different activities (83 of the 98 event providers volunteered their time and 24 of these were working scientist parents).
Three British Sign Language interpreters were employed to interpret the stage shows, talks and workshops for the deaf community.
While the majority of our 2,500 weekend visitors were families from the Dunbar cluster area, the event also attracted families from throughout East Lothian and from much further afield.
Angela Leitch, chief executive of East Lothian Council was a visitos at the 2012 Scifest. She said: “I really found the parts I saw fascinating, as were the many volunteers I spoke with.
“This is a great community achievement and many thanks to the Parent Council who put the effort and time into such a worthwhile series of activities.”
The festival won the National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) 2012 Best Community Event Category Award and was nominated for a ‘Parents as Partners in Learning’ Award in the Scottish Education 2012 Awards.
This year’s Scifest is being held on Saturday and Sunday, March 16/17, at Dunbar Primary School John Muir Campus and The Bleachingfield Community Centre.
For the programme of events at the Scifest visit www.dunbarscifest.org.uk.