Science Tent at Splendour in the Grass 2023

group watching a speaker on stage

The Science Tent program for 2023 Splendour in the Grass has been announced. This year is another packed program of both serious and fun science topics, as varied as forensic crime, human genitalia, the science of wellness, mushrooms, drugs and vaping, and even some wild animals in drag.

Over 40 scientists, researchers, science communicators, educators and STEM experts from universities, research institutes, media organisations and peak professional bodies across Australia, participate in the three-day program of science-focussed talks, presentations, demonstrations, workshops and light entertainment.

Inspiring NSW has been supporting the Science Tent at Splendour in the Grass since 2017, and are thrilled to see how the program has developed into an outstanding example of science communication at a community level, taking science to places it would not normally go.

View the whole program

Program Highlights


Friday 21 July

Genitally speaking
Biologist Dr Naomi Koh Belic and geneticist Dr Haylo Roberts take the audience on a journey through human genitalia.

Nature is Gay
Wildlife biologist  and drag queen guide Diva Attenbra takes a trip around the globe to explore a few of the many animal species that display homosexual behaviours.

Australia’s Lost Creatures
Wildlife conservation biologist from Taronga Conservation Society Australia Phoebe Meagher is working to save some of Australia quirkiest and weirdest creatures from being lost forever, including fighting to protect one very weird and special Australian icon.

Eat meat, save the planet
Imagine a future where humans and animals don’t just co-exist, they co-thrive.  But how? Vow is a team of innovators, engineers, scientists, artists (and most importantly, foodies) creating food that is sustainable, abundant, and irresistible, without the need to harm animals or the planet.  What are the realities of having cultured meat on our plates?

The Body Farm: Learning from the AFTER life
We tend to think of human remains in the context of crime – how did this person die, and who killed them? However, bodies can tell us more than just a murderer’s identity. Hear from Bridget Thurn about the research happening at Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) at UTS Sydney.

The Dead Do Tell Tales
It’s the job of a forensic anthropologist to interpret the stories told by someone’s bones to help reveal their identity. Dr Rachel Berry discusses some of the techniques used by forensic anthropologists to assist in human identification and highlights their role in criminal investigations using (in)famous Australian murder cases.

Saturday 22 July

Hooked on Science
Which lyrics, beats or harmonies are living rent free in your mind? A psychologist, musicologist, sound designer and a science communicator explain the psychology and musicology of ‘hooks’ – the parts of your favourite (and not so favourite) songs that set your neurons in a spin. Hosted by Alice Motion with Alexis Weaver, Dr Tim Byron, and Dr Jadey O’Regan.

The Psychedelic Renaissance
The global cannabis movement and psychedelic renaissance are upon us. Dr Emily Rigby explores the phenomenal potential of natural medicines in a journey of education, access, research and reform. 

The Weird History of Psychedelics
The psychedelic renaissance is in full swing, but along with research into new treatments, on the fringes of science there have been fascinating experiments exploring what psychedelics reveal about the nature of our minds. Strap yourselves in with Dr Vince Polito.

Illicit drugs turned medicines
Australia will become the first nation to recognise MDMA and psilocybin (the psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms”) as potential medicines. Dr Jack Wilson shares what we have learned from the cannabis experience to ensure that we use these therapies effectively and safely. 


Vape Vent in the Tent!
Everything you want to know about vaping and your opportunity to contribute your thoughts, voices, views, ideas and suggestions, or simply vent on the topic, with public health researcher Dr Emily Stockings .

Climating is an different interactive live dating show, where our on-stage contestants will question their own climate values. Follow our contestants as they navigate through the world of carbon emissions, biodegradability, and more to see if they really can find their ultimate clim-mate. 

Sunday finishes with a great selection of women scientists, the catalysts!

Show us ya mussels
Learn why these animals are a treasured part of Aboriginal culture. Find out about their weird and mysterious mating habits. Michelle Hobbs delves into the mind of a freshwater mussel and how to be at one with the river as we venture underwater to find out what life is like on the riverbed.

Zoe from The Buoys and her love of science
While some might know Zoe Catterall as the lead singer of The Buoys, others know Zoe as an enthusiastic lab rat. Having worked in many jobs within the field of science, from the morgue to the hospital lab and beyond, Zoe now works in brewing science, chipping away in the Young Henry’s lab in Newtown.

Kataya Barrett
Kataya Barrett (she/her) is a Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung woman, marine scientist and Sea Country planner and the Saltwater and Planning Project Officer with Country Needs People. She has saltwater in her veins and is on a journey to help heal and take care of Sea Country.


The UTS Deep Green Biotech Hub presents some of their successful innovative ‘Green Light’ Accelerator Program start-ups, who are fresh out of their program, and ready to light up Splendour with their algae innovations.


  • Dr Quill Darby – Instigator of shenanigans, science communicator, and all-round curator of fun.
  • Holly Kershaw – A leader in STEM education and engagement!
  • Dr Alex Thomson – Marine ecologist, science communicator, and “Superstar of STEM”