NSW science engagement grants

Congratulations to the 12 successful applicants set to receive event funding from Inspiring Australia NSW’s 2022 Year Round and sponsorship programs. Nine NSW Regional Science Hubs will be funded to present year round programs including two new entrants to the statewide regional network, the Lithgow Valley Science Hub and the Jamison Valley Science Hub.

Inspiring Australia NSW will also sponsor Science Space in Wollongong to present its up lates events series, Bundanon to commission new artworks for its 2022 Siteworks program and Dark Science, a festival established in Lismore in 2019 at the Quad with the vision to ‘make science sexy’ and ultimately challenge audiences with a new take on experimental arts.

Lithgow Valley Science Hub

Led by Steamworks at the Foundations in Portland, the newly established Lithgow Valley Science Hub will bring together a diverse group of community event producers and science educators to create a series of events at the Foundations in Portland. Each event will be tailored to regional communities’ needs to inspire excitement in local science. Among activities planned are an ecology picnic, dance workshops, bee hotel sculpture events targeting both young adults and children and an Indigenous astronomy evening.

Jamison Valley Science Hub

The new Jamison Valley Science Hub brings together Council, science research and arts organisations located in the Upper Blue Mountains. Events in planning include: Magic of Mushrooms: Bioluminescence Workshop led by a printmaker and visual artist Freedom Wilson will use supporting material from her field studies to explain the science of bioluminescence; a workshop that will engage participants with bio-sonification and the science of sound; a family and children’s event led by Western Sydney University Ornithologist, Victoria Austin, who will share tales about Blue Mountains’ lyrebirds and run activities with a local author to educate the community how to protect and support the lyrebirds around their mountain homes; a two day immersive, interdisciplinary workshop experience where participants will work with a scientific illustrator and animator to create original works about lyrebirds.

Science at the Local

Science at the Local, the popular Blue Mountains Sunday science series will return to the Springwood Bowling Club in the first half of 2022, bringing community members and scientists together at a local venue to talk science. This year, there will be two additional webinars presented, two new YouTube videos created, a new student award established to reignite the interest and aptitude for science among the Blue Mountains region’s young people and a follow up media and content series to track the career progression of the 100+ speakers that have taken part in this science engagement initiative since it was established 8 years ago. This retrospective series will revisit old topics and speakers via video greetings, quotes or updates. 

Sapphire Coast Science Hub

The Sapphire Coast Science Hub has lined up a diverse program of events including: Bioluminescence, a Vivid-inspired presentation of life Under the Tathra Wharf; Smoke on the Water, an event about what information science has to offer to prepare us for the inevitable change in climatic conditions ahead; Citizen Brain, a citizen science mini-festival with a focus on community science engagement and positive outcomes for biodiversity; Science in the Pub, Tathra Hotel will host a series of guest speakers and bring together science, food, live music, quizzes, prizes and discusssions on green hydrogen; pumped hydro; the renewable economy and climate science post-COP26 with a link to National Science Week.

In addition, threatened species issues will come alive with workshops about the threatened species of the Far South Coast such as the pygmy possum, the grey headed flying fox, the hooded plover and other threatened shorebirds. Participants will also be invited to explore fauna studies on Aboriginal land and conservation programs that link to First Nations ecological knowledge, with a link to Threatened Species Day.

Hunter Innovation and Science Hub

Building on its successful new program devised in 2021, Hunter Innovation and Science Hub will again present My Science Odyssey as a series of five webinars. In addition, a number of live events will be delivered in Muswellbrook, Singleton, Maitland, Speers Point and Newcastle. Invited speakers will have a strong link to science either in their training or in their profession, with two-thirds majority of female speakers. The purpose of these interactive seminars/webinars is to highlight the many different roads people can travel down towards a career in STEM. Invited speakers will share their own odysseys on topics including: Warriors for the Planet: Food, fungi and farms: what how much where?; Oceans, sharks and …; Bumble Bee Symphony, Spiders, Albatross, Stormy Petrel and Biochemistry; and Conservation, koalas & sustainability.

Orange Cowra Cabonne Science Hub

The Orange Cowra Cabonne Science Hub will present an engaging series of art science events including Mycelium, an ecologist-led workshop where participants will investigate the connection between plants, water, nitrogen, carbon and minerals. After that they’ll make a Chromatogram with photographer Sammy Hawker. The Wood wide web is a ceramic workshop investigating the relationship trees share along with a presentation on how they transfer knowledge for health and to avoid insect infestation. Micro landscapes will offer a workshop on the various water monitoring techniques for aquatic health used by scientists in the Lachlan [Galari] River and Endemic and invasive flora and fauna will feature a First Nation cultural expert discussing weaving, botanicals and medicinal uses of plant species located adjacent to the Lachlan [Galari] river with artist Aleshia Lonsdale. The series will conclude with Healthy Habits, a workshop to learn how to use the app iNaturalist and contribute to the Atlas of living Australia. Participants will also learn the process of collodion wet plate photograph and how to illustrate natural environments through collage and drawing.

Illawarra Science Hub

Led by the Eaton Gorge Theatre Company, the Illawarra Science Hub will present a fascinating series about death with science and performers working together to develop engaging events and intriguing experiences looking at the science of ageing, what happens after you die and the life cycle and composting. A number of fun events are also on the program including through a popular movie night, debates and performances with input from the local ABC radio crew.

Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub

Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub will present an informative series of field days and workshops in an around Dungog. The 2022 program includes sessions on: Bird Language & Nature Connection; Flying foxes; Energy options in the Hunter looking at the local and personal implications of the global transition to ‘Net zero by 2050’; and Soils ain’t Soils, a discussion about environmental remediation and the use of soil microbes to unlock nutrients.  The event series will conclude with the Community Science Banquet – a major annual event in National Science Week that will address topics including soils, carbon cycling, nutrition, cooking, taste and body chemistry, fermentation.

Eastern Sydney Science Hub

Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust will again delight audiences of all ages with its year round program of events combining science, music, theatre, stargazing and nature. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an introduction to astronomy and stargazing. Have fun at the Great CP Egg Hunt and discover a variety of egg-laying animals with talks and demos from science educators. Attend a musical performance of the The Planets by Sydney Youth Orchestras followed by stargazing outside. The whole family will enjoy Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, an Australian story with a focus on the science of seed travel. Get spooky with Swamp Monsters Centennial Park’s longstanding Halloween event, where participants will experience gruesome activities including at stations that demonstrate how plants travel from seed to decomposition.


Science Space Up Lates

Science Space will bring back its Up Lates series that was postponed due to Covid-19. With a  Family ‘Up Late’ Science Fiction celebration, three Adult ‘Up Late’ Science events and a Spookfest family science and fun night to mark Halloween, the 2022 program is set to delight audiences in the Illawarra and surrounds.

Siteworks at Bundanon

Bundanon will commission two new, large-scale commissions for its Siteworks 2022 program, a longstanding public engagement experience that celebrates art and science and attracts over 1000 visitors to a wide range of programs and including an opportunity to camp overnight at the Bundanon property. These works will be presented at the new Art Museum as the central focus of the Siteworks 2022 program and will each weave together art, design and the environment.

Dark Science

Dark Science returns to the Lismore Quad with a third Festival event in September 2022. Purposely programmed at night in an arts festival model with multiple venues showcasing live music, performances, visual arts and installations, the event will be set in the open-air environment of the Quad and the surrounding buildings of the Lismore Library, Lismore Regional Gallery and Conservatorium of Music. Inspired by Dark Mofo in Hobart, this unique regional Festival aims to showcase the extraordinary talents of the artists and scientists in the Northern Rivers in an intimate, fun, sometimes shocking and entertaining format.

Feature image at Siteworks at Bundanon by Heidrun Lohr. Inspiring Australia NSW acknowledges the generous support of the NSW Government and the Australian Government.