Festival of Curiosity: everything from Lego workshops to a ‘yawn chorus’

The Dublin festival, now in its fourth year, has something for all ages

Colouring robots at last year’s Festival of Curiosity

Colouring robots at last year’s Festival of Curiosity

 

Whether you are five, 105 or somewhere in between, the upcoming Festival of Curiosity reckons it can offer an “urban escape” in Dublin next week to ignite your interest. The four-day festival, now in its fourth year, offers “playful days and curious nights” replete with science, art, design, technology and hands-on fun.

“Our mission is to create a culture of curiosity in Dublin and beyond,” says Ellen Byrne, festival cofounder and creative director. “The underlying theme this year is urban escape and finding interesting, playful and curious ways to explore the city and to discover science, arts and design in new and surprising places, from walking tours and night cycles to pop-up experiences, shows and picnics in the park.”

Events galore

Those events will be held at various locations around Dublin, with a focus on families during the day and more adult-oriented talks and parties at night.

Family-friendly events include the science of the circus, puppet shows, bubble shows and Lego workshops, not to mention an “infinity garden” that explores the effects of nature on the brain, a space to make musical memories and a “yawn chorus” that uses artificial intelligence to capture the yawns of visitors and turn them into something else.

Then there are more adult-friendly talks and events, such as a night cycle to Dunsink Observatory, a late-night party at Science Gallery to explore the science of seeing, design workshops, and an exploration of how art and design can help us deal with death and dying.

One of the most popular turns at the Festival of Curiosity in recent years has been Dublin Maker, a day-long fair with activities and showcases of high- and low-tech creations often made for the fun of it. This year the family-friendly event is moving to Merrion Square, and it will be the biggest yet, Dublin Maker cofounder Dr David McKeown expects. “We have about 100 makers signed up to show off their creations and hacks. It is a really varied mix – we have people showcasing ceramics, wood-turning, robotics, bamboo bikes, papercraft, traditional and electronic musical instruments, board games, home brew, urban farming and virtual reality. It is a blend of traditional and cutting edge.”

Some events and shows at the Festival of Curiosity need to be booked in advance, says Byrne, but many are free and open for drop-ins. “We really want to take a slightly different and all-inclusive approach to science tech engineering and maths and offer something for all ages,” she says.

Holiday reading

If you can’t be in Dublin for the festival this month, but you still want to explore the science of urban spaces, then get your hands on a new book coming out in August called Science and the City: The Mechanics Behind the Metropolis by physicist- turned-writer Laurie Winkless, which explores the science and technology that underpins city life.

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