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Art meets Science at bluedot 2018

This year’s bluedot (19-22 July) has an incredible line-up and the arts and culture programming is bigger than ever.

The Lovell Telescope, at the heart of the festival, will once again illuminated by artists work via projection mapped bespoke installations. Look up as night falls to see our headline projection, ‘Megastructure’ by Marcus Lyall bringing the structure of the Lovell Telescope to life with a spectacular durational sequence of colour and light.

Expect also to see the second edition of COSMOS a flagship international art-science commission and residency produced by Abandon Normal Devices (AND). This year’s project welcomes Austrian based American artist Addie Wagenknecht whose work focuses on the tension between expression and technology. Having worked with the Jodrell Bank researchers and scientists, Addie has been exploring the data that the telescope collects from deep space to create a remarkable new artwork set to be projected onto the iconic structure over the festival weekend.

Meanwhile, look out the premiere of a bespoke artwork for the festival of our pale blue dot by Luke Jerram, of the awe-inspiring Museum of the Moon piece.

View the Earth like you’ve never seen it before, featuring detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface accompanied by a sound composition by BAFTA award-winning composor Dan Jones. This piece is a bluedot and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) co-commission with support from The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC).

Plus, stay vigilant in the main arena and watch out for Out of this World: an other-worldy procession of curious characters by Global Grooves. Blending together carnival arts, thumping percussion, ethereal beings and illuminated lanterns, the Friday and Saturday night parades will be a spectacle to behold. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Once day transforms into night, immerse yourself into The Outer Space to discover The Lucid Lanterns; a dazzling multi-coloured outdoor sound and light show, Dr. Kronovator’s Fire Laboratory; an intruiging, interactive fiery spectacle and soundscape, both supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

The Red Stars teleport into the festival from the future with their a crew of time travelling, party-starting, sonic renegades to save bluedot from OneCor – a futuristic all-powerful corporation who have made all non-sponsored music and creativity illegal. Join in their spontaneous Micro-Raves to send you beaming into the future.

And finally, wonder into The Star Field and enjoy the return of The Space Shed, bringing their intergalactic storytelling show for families and children about one man’s mission to hack his way into space or celebrate the beginning of time with a large scale geometric installation in the arena based on The Big Bang.

With vast galaxies of art to discover at bluedot, immerse yourself into a cornecopia of wonder and curiousity this July.

Day Tickets are still available but selling fast, click here to book online now at just £59.75 each. There are plenty of great savings for children and families. 

The Blue Planet in Concert

The award winning bluedot festival will be opening in just three weeks time with Blue Planet in Concert, performed by the Hallé Orchestra on Thursday 19th July. The event kicks off a brand new family four-day format for the festival and promises to be a night to remember.

The show combines live music against a backdrop of remarkable footage from the original Blue Planet 2001 television series produced by the acclaimed BBC Natural History Unit and performed in the shadow of the giant Lovell Telescope.

Conducted by the composer, the Hallé will perform the internationally critically acclaimed concert version of the original Blue Planet, promising a unique and awe-inspiring spectacle in HD, exploring the vast oceans on our pale blue dot, and the challenges we face for the future.

Opening the Thursday night event will be Filming Blue Planet II: BBC in conversation with the British Antarctic Survey. In the final episode of Blue Planet II, bird ecologist Dr Lucy Quinn showed the world how a charismatic seabird – the wandering albatross – eats plastic pollution in the sea. Described by Sir David Attenborough as ‘tragic’, producer Yolly Bosiger who worked on the series, explains how they chose what to include in the programmes and how the impact of the series has led to a UK Government ban on plastics and a new movement where people are taking action to make changes for the future benefit of our Earth.

Following the talk and ahead of the Blue Planet concert, festival-goers can enjoy a performance from Laura Misch, a saxophonist, vocalist and producer popular with Gilles Peterson and Worldwide FM, whose extraordinary one-woman show fuses jazz and progressive electronic genres through exploring the space between analogue and electronically-manipulated sound.

Taking place on the opening evening, Thursday tickets are available to be purchased separately for just £29 with a weekend ticket, or £35 as a stand-alone ticket. Upgrade to our VIP package priced at £59.

Practical Action is Bluedot’s Charity Partner.

We’re thrilled to have Practical Action on board once again as one of bluedot’s official charity partners for 2018.

Practical Action is a global innovator, inspiring people to discover and adopt ingenious, practical ways to free themselves from poverty and disadvantage. Their projects help communities across the globe, including in Asia, Africa and South America and their inspirational body of work covers sustainable agriculture, water, sanitation and waste, access to energy and reducing vulnerability to disasters.

Practical Action CEO, Paul Smith Lomas has said We are really excited to be partnering with Bluedot for a third year. The line-up is incredible and it’s a great opportunity to generate some strong support and advocates for Practical Action.

Our ambition is to create a world where all men and women have access to the technology they need to meet their needs and reach their potential. Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of everything we do so Bluedot is the perfect fit for us.”

You’ll be able to visit members of the Practical Action team at Bluedot (19-22 July) at their festival stall in the Planet Field, where they’ll be running a range of drop-in activities, demonstrating how their work transforms lives.

Plus, new for 2018, Practical Action will also be running two hands-on workshops at the festival’s Launch Pad, including The Floating Garden Challenge, and Ditch the Dirt.

Find out what they got up to at bluedot last year…

Bluedot takes place on 19-22 July at Jodrell Bank. Find out more, including how to book tickets here


Family Fun at Bluedot

With half term nearly over and under 7 weeks to go till the return of our award-winning festival bluedot (19-22 July), now’s the perfect time for families to start planning their trip.

The festival has been designed with parents in mind with lots of provision for young families including free tickets for under 5s, dedicated parent and baby spaces, early morning activities and quiet camping.

Your little explorers and budding young scientists can immerse themselves in a world of wonder and get stuck in to a host of family activity including live research, experiments and science shows, exhibits, workshops and stalls. If you’ve enjoyed Amazed by Science this week, then you’ll absolutely love bluedot!

The popular Star and Planet Fields will be back, each serving as a hub for family-friendly discovery with scientific displays, games, experiments and workshops galore. Highlights include hands-on insect investigations with the Institute of Infection and Global Health, celebrating women in science with ScienceGrrl, the festival’s charity partner Practical Action, and The Week Junior’s Big Debate Live and journalism workshops.

Plus, new for 2018, be sure to head to The Launch Pad, a brand new area encompassing three exciting new zones, all located in the south Star Field.

The Launch Pad features:

The Big Bang Lab: Be inspired by science by watching a fun and fact-packed live science show. Featuring interactive demonstrations, live experiments and even the occasional (controlled) explosion, the Big Bang Lab is perfect for all the family. 

The Data Base: Get involved with real live research by helping to solve some of the biggest problems of the day

The Work Shop: Get hands-on and learn a new skill with our SciTechsperts

Get ready for Lift Off and begin your scientific journey at bluedot this summer. We’ll see you there!


Weekend camping available from £169.
Discounts for children and teens, under 5s go free.

Book Online


Prime Minister delivers major science policy speech at Jodrell Bank

Prime Minister Theresa May visited Jodrell Bank on Monday to deliver a major speech on science technology and to confirm funding for our spectacular new First Light project.

The Prime Minister visited a workshop involving children from the local Goostrey Community Primary School and met University of Manchester postgrad and postdoc researchers, before joining a meeting of the Council for Science and Technology (CST).

In her speech, delivered in front of the iconic Lovell Telescope, Mrs May unveiled four new missions as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, tackling subjects such as healthy ageing, zero-carbon vehicles, home energy efficiency and using AI to improve disease detection and prevention.

The speech came as The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is to receive a total of £16.1million for our transformational £20.5m First Light project. £12.1m of the total is thanks to National Lottery players, with a further £4m coming from the Government.

This ambitious project will create a spectacular new gallery building that will promote and celebrate Jodrell Bank’s world-leading place in the history of astronomy, and a pioneering chapter in British scientific and cultural history.

As well as the Prime Minister, the event was also attended by Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy), Sam Gyimah (Minister for Higher Education), Jake Berry (Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth), Michael Ellis (Heritage Minister) and Sir Peter Luff (Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund).

Funding confirmed for First Light at Jodrell Bank

We are absolutely thrilled to be able to announce today our £20.5m transformative First Light at Jodrell Bank project is set to receive a total of £16.1m from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). £12.1m of the total is thanks to National Lottery players, with a further £4m coming from the Government.

The project will create a spectacular new building that will promote and celebrate Jodrell Bank’s world-leading place in the history of astronomy, and a pioneering chapter in British scientific and cultural history.

Jodrell Bank Observatory, which is part of The University of Manchester, was founded in 1945. It is the earliest radio astronomy observatory in the world still in existence and was a pioneer of the new science of radio astronomy, which revolutionised our understanding of the universe. In recognition of the international significance of its science heritage, Jodrell Bank was nominated by DCMS for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in January 2018.

This game-changing support of National Lottery players will preserve and protect the heritage of the site for future generations and result in a must-see national heritage destination to match the site’s national and international importance. The new facilities will house a stunning new exhibition and engagement space, incorporating the original fabric of the 1957 dish of the telescope, an auditorium devoted to displaying immersive digital presentations, an education hub, and a new café.

At its core the First Light Project is all about connecting the widest range of people with the heritage of science and innovation, and will provide opportunities for people to become more involved in Jodrell Bank through education, group activities, volunteering and engagement.

The project will provide a place of inspiration for young people and their families, showcasing not only the emergence of the new science of radio astronomy, but also the stories of resilience, determination, cooperation and the entrepreneurial spirit that brought it into being.

The project, which will be delivered over the next three years, will create 19 new roles, increase visitor numbers and establish a volunteer programme.

Commenting on the award, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “It’s great to be here at this iconic home of British innovation to personally congratulate the team on this funding award, which will enable Jodrell Bank to continue to inspire scientists in Britain for generations to come.

“We are committed to continuing the proud heritage that Jodrell Bank represents, by making the UK the world’s most innovative economy through our Modern Industrial Strategy. As we stand on the threshold of a technological revolution, we will use science to transform our quality of life.”

Professor Teresa Anderson, Director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: ‘’We are thrilled that we have received this generous support thanks to National Lottery players and the DCMS. This funding will transform visitor engagement with the heritage of Jodrell Bank. It will enable us to properly relay, reveal, interpret and explain our story, so that a wider range of people, locally, nationally and worldwide, can understand and appreciate the unique turning point that occurred with the emergence of radio astronomy.

“This major investment acknowledges Jodrell Bank’s unique significance and will ensure that the heritage of the site is protected and conserved according to the standards required of a World Heritage Site, ensuring its care and maintenance for future generations.’’

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester added: ‘‘I am delighted by the announcement of this major funding.  It will enable us to share Jodrell Bank’s fantastic stories and amazing feats of UK science and engineering with many thousands of visitors.

“I am particularly pleased that this will provide opportunities for young people to pursue their own paths of interest and to develop the skills needed to become the digital technologists, scientists and artists of the future.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “The First Light project has been designed to nurture a new generation of scientists and astronomers and is only possible thanks to National Lottery funding.  Jodrell Bank will be a centre for learning, wonder and fun – a place where people of all ages can visit, be inspired and, quite literally, reach for the stars.”

Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said: “Jodrell Bank is a globally important site that has helped to transform our understanding of the Universe. This significant investment from government and National Lottery players will create a world class visitor attraction and help inspire future generations in science and astronomy.” 


The Bees are Busy at Jodrell Bank

Our National Collection of Malus (Flowering Crab Apple) is in full bloom here at Jodrell Bank and our bees are busy busy busy! After a long winter and a slow start to spring the Jodrell Bank bees been desperate to get out to forage amongst the 3,000 trees and shrubs in our 35 acre arboretum.

Now, the bees are happily filling supers with honey and their colony size is increasing daily so regular checks are taking place to make sure they have enough room. This week, our Head Gardener had to add an extra couple of supers as the nectar flow is incredibly fast and they’re filling up very quickly!

We have over 300 Crab Apples in flower at the moment as well as collections of Pears, Cherries and our Cheshire Orchard blooming so the grounds are a-buzz with our busy workers, it really is a beautiful sight.

We’ve been keeping bees here in our Apiary for 5 years now and run regular demonstrations throughout the spring and summer months (weather depending – if its raining or too cold we won’t open the hives). You can get a great view of the beekeepers at work with just a perspex screen between you to watch them go through their hive inspections and ask any questions you may have.

And, if you’re interested in getting up close to the Jodrell Bank bees yourself, you might like our new Beekeeper Taster Day, a hands on experience with Master Beekeeper Pete Sutcliffe from the Cheshire Beekeepers Association taking place on Sunday 24th June. Perhaps we’ll see you there. Bzz!

Day Tickets now on sale for Bluedot

With just a few months to go till the third outing of our award-winning festival of discovery, we’re very excited to announce that Day Tickets for the 2018 bluedot festival are now on sale.

Running 19 – 22 July, bluedot returns with another stellar lineup of music, science and cosmic culture. Highlights include The Chemical Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Future Islands, Richard Dawkins, Jim Al-Khalili, Alice Roberts, and many, many more.

Don’t forget, this year’s festival has been extended to include Thursday 19th July when the Halle Orchestra will perform music from the BBC’s acclaimed series Blue Planet. Certainly not to be missed!

You can view the full lineup on the bluedot website and you can also now download the 2018 bluedot festival app. Perfect for planning your weekend of discovery! We’ll see you there

Download via the Apple App Store
Download via Google Play

Be Amazed by Science this Half Term

Visit Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre this May Half Term and be Amazed by Science in a host of shows, sessions, tours and activities.

From Saturday 26th May – Sunday 3rd June, we’ll be taking part in Cheshire’s county-wide festival of science, technology and engineering.

We first came together with Marketing Cheshire to launch the Amazed by Science Festival in 2014. Now in its fifth year, the hugely popular event continues to capture children’s imaginations and excite families about the wonders of science and the world around us. There’s plenty to explore and you can see the full programme online here.

What’s on at Jodrell Bank

Live Science Show
Saturday 26th May – Friday 1st June

Meet the Expert
Tuesday 29th May – Friday 1st June

Operation Earth Activities
Saturday 26th May – Sunday 3rd June

Under 5s’ Sessions
Tuesday 29th May – Friday 1st June

Siemens’ Interactive Games
Tuesday 29th May – Sunday 3rd June

Cheshire Beekeepers’
Monday 28th May – Friday 1st June

Telescope Walking Tours
Tuesday 29th May – Sunday 3rd June

Book Admission Tickets

We expect May Half Term to be popular and so encourage visitors to plan ahead and book their tickets online and in advance.

Find out more including how to book here… 

Leading Scientists and Thinkers Announced for Bluedot 2018

We’re delighted to announce yet another incredible lineup for our acclaimed DotTalks series at bluedot this summer.

The multi award-winning festival, which returns to Jodrell Bank from 19- 22 July, will host more than 50 talks from leading scientists and thinkers including Richard Dawkins, Jim Al-Khalili, Dallas Campbell, Alice Roberts, Libby Jackson, and Dave Goulson.

Curated by Jodrell Bank’s own, Professors Tim O’Brien and Teresa Anderson, the substantial and hugely popular DotTalks programme features a host of high-calibre speakers, cutting-edge presentations, and thought-provoking discussions.

With more than 50 academic talks and over 45 research teams, it’s no wonder that Bluedot has been dubbed the ‘Glastonbury of Science’. In fact, with the chance to explore ground-breaking science, to access new ideas and the latest thinking, and to engage with so many speakers, scientists and researchers all in a single weekend, we’re sure that the Dot Talks series alone is reason enough to visit this fantastic festival.

“Unique and out of this world” THE GUARDIAN

Highlights from the 2018 Dot Talks programme include…

  • Regarded as one of the greatest and most controversial thinkers of his time, Richard Dawkins will talk about his latest book Science for the Soul, and will team up with Jim Al-Khalili for a riveting ‘in conversation’ event.
  • Writer and broadcaster Alice Roberts delves into archaeology, history and genetics to reveal the amazing stories of three species that became our allies.
  • The BBC’s Dallas Campbell will discuss how to leave planet Earth.
  • Professor of Immunology at the University of Manchester Sheena Cruickshank will discuss the 38 trillion bacteria co-habiting our bodies!
  • Erica Wagner will bring to life her book Chief Engineer, which was named one of Amazon’s Best Science Books of 2017.
  • Hear from UK Space Agency’s manager of Human Spaceflight and Microgravity Programme, Libby Jackson.
  • Winner of the recent BBC 2 series ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?’ Suzie Imber, will discuss how she endured the challenges of astronaut training.
  • The University of Manchester’s Daniel M Davis, talks about his widely acclaimed book The Beautiful Cure
  • Jodrell Bank’s  Sir Bernard Lovell Chair of Astrophysics Mike Garrett will discuss the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence.
  • Monica Grady, professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University will return after her hugely popular talk in 2018

Also added to the science lineup today are Jim Wild, Richard Betts, Tom Allcock, Rachel Platonov, Jon Copley, Richard Battye, Kevin Warwick, Philippa Browning, Rene Breton, Paul Venezis, Julia Steinberger, Anna Scaife, and many more

Weekend Tickets are on sale now and can be booked online here.