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Sydney Science Festival Returns For 2021 With Ambassador Corey Tutt and the Theme Vitality

Man in black tshirt with the words 'deadly science' standing in front of iron gateJune 17, 2021

Image: Corey Tutt, photo by Dan Boud

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The Powerhouse has announced Corey Tutt, Kamilaroi man and Founder of Deadly Science, as the ambassador for the 2021 Sydney Science Festival. The ten-day program running from 13 – 22 August 2021 has also been revealed today.

Returning for a sixth year, Sydney Science Festival is the Powerhouse Museum’s flagship science program and one of the leading public platforms for science in Australia. Coinciding with National Science Week, free and ticketed events including talks and education programs will take place at the museum in Ultimo and throughout Western Sydney, at Parramatta Park, Riverside Theatre and WSU.

This year’s festival will centre on the theme of Vitality to explore the role that science has played in conserving the vitality of our health in the year of the pandemic, the health of our food system and our planet in light of the ongoing effects of the climate crisis. Leading Australian and international scientists and innovators joining Tutt in the program to address the issues include Tony Cunningham AO, Dominic Dwyer, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Emma Johnston, Ronni Kahn AO, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Chris McGrath, Dr Brad McKay, Karlie Noon, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Eddie Woo, Dr Norman Swan and Jaron Lanier.

Sydney Science Festival opens with American technologist, author and founder of VPL Research Jaron Lanier, who joins Powerhouse Director, Curatorial, Collections & Exhibitions Matthew Connell in conversation on Saturday 14 August. Live-streaming into the Powerhouse Theatre, Lanier, credited as being one of the creators of Virtual Reality, will connect the Powerhouse collection to latest emerging technologies to discuss ethical quandaries of social media and the ideology of Silicon Valley.

Sovereignty in Science is the Powerhouse Museum’s inaugural symposium of First Nations science. The program will generate critical discussion about knowledge, leadership and futures in First Nations science – how it is defined, practiced and protected. Hosted by renowned STEM journalist Rae Johnston, the program will feature talks by Victor Steffensen, Corey Tutt, Aunty Frances Bodkin with son Professor Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews, Dr Valerie Ringland and Neva Collings (17 August, Powerhouse).

Pandemics: Past, Present and Future will investigate the learnings from the pandemics humanity has faced throughout its existence and the different responses to Covid-19 from around the world. Professor Dominic Dwyer, an Australian representative on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the origins of Covid-19, will be in conversation with Global Biosecurity expert at the UNSW Kirby Institute Professor Raina MacIntyre, co-director of the Centre for Virus Research at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research Professor Tony Cunningham AO and Physician, Journalist and Broadcaster Norman Swan (20 August 2021, WSU Parramatta Campus).

Science at Parramatta presents a full day of talks and activities by Powerhouse and the City of Parramatta. Highlights of the day include a panel on society’s space aspirations featuring space junk expert and Sydney Observatory resident Annie Handmer, UNSW astrobiologist Bonnie Teece and Macquarie University cosmologist Professor Devika Kamath; an exploration of the hidden world of math with Eddie Woo; and a discussion of great moments in science with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (15 August, Riverside Theatre).

American cosmologist and activist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein will join Sydney Observatory Astronomy Ambassador Karlie Noon in conversation to discuss her first book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter. Pairing her buoyant love for physics and the latest theories of dark matter with her lived experience of prejudices within the academic system, Prescod-Weinstein discusses her journey from inspired child to cosmologist (22 August, Powerhouse Theatre).

Panel discussion The Australian Climate Diet, delves into the environmental impacts of the food we eat and revolutionary systems for sustainability and equity. Featuring Research Fellow at the School of Public Health Dr Sinead Boyle, Oz Harvest Founder Ronni Kahn AO, Founder of Venus Shell Systems Pia Winberg and Counter Magazine Editor Kate Cox, they will discuss how we can conserve the environment whilst continuing to feed an ever-increasing population (19 August 2021, Powerhouse).

Stars and Skies Party in Parramatta Park on 21 August 2021, presented in partnership with Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), will be an evening of moon, star and sky-gazing featuring fireside talks, dance and music performances from Australian First Nations, Pasifika and Chinese astronomers, astrophysicists and cultural knowledge holders.

Writer Ketan Joshi, Climate Scientist Lesley Hughes, Aboriginal Carbon Foundation CEO Rowan Foley and CEO and Founder of solar tech company 5B Chris McGrath come together to discuss Road to Net Zero. Examining what net zero actually looks like and how we get there, this panel will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by an Australian-approach to reduce carbon emissions (Powerhouse, 20 August 2021).

Four prominent ocean scientists share solutions to the biggest challenges threatening the vitality of Earth’s ocean ecosystems in Justice for the Oceans. UNSW Dean of Science Emma Johnston, Marine Biologist and Policy Expert Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, UNSW Emerging Thought Leader 2019 Prize Winner Adriana Verges and Indigenous Scientia Lecturer Laura Parker will share solutions and inspiring Australian conservation measures to protect and maintain a critical ecosystem. Presented by Powerhouse, UNSW Centre for Ideas and UNSW Science (21 August 2021, Powerhouse).

Dr Brad McKay, Australian GP and science communicator, warns about the dangers of relying on online influencers, celebrities and Dr Google when making decisions about our health in The Rise of Fake Medicine (WSU Parramatta Campus, 21 August 2021).

Corey Tutt, Sydney Science Festival 2021 ambassador said: “STEAM is the thing that gives us all a bit of hope. Education is the freedom and ability to create, dream and grow. To be your ambassador for science week 2021 is a huge honour for me because you can’t be what you can’t see. So I hope this year every young Deadly scientist and their families join me in loving all that is the magic of science.”

Lisa Havilah, Powerhouse Chief Executive said: “Following a year which saw us face a pandemic and the effects of Climate Change, we look to science to help us find solutions. Our 2021 Sydney Science Festival is a curated program where we have invited leaders in scientific fields to discuss these events with us and explore the vital role that science plays in society in a time when it matters most. We look forward to expanding our program throughout Western Sydney and engaging with the local community with the programs we have to offer.”

Curator of Sydney Science Festival, Catherine Polcz said: “This year’s festival sees the inclusion of a theme for the first time – Vitality examines the crucial role of science in addressing big challenges while recognising STEM’s contributions in caring for the health of our community and planet. We are thrilled to feature inspiring researchers and thinkers in a program that examines the interconnectedness of science and culture while also tackling scientific values, prejudices and conspiracies.”

Sydney Science Festival
13 August 2021 − 22 August 2021
Full program details can be viewed HERE



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Kym Elphinstone
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