Angela Stretch previews the range of activities which comprise National Science Week this week. Many of them are in walking distance of the 2010 postcode.

Creatives are in position to engage in a sense of play with scientists for the 23rd National Science Week, 15 August – 23 August 2020.

In addition to embracing ubiquitous computing and gaming technologies, a changing reality is apparent in a renewed attention to how things connect, how we relate to each other and to the world we inhabit.  This year the Festival presents more than 1,000 online events delivered by universities, institutions, schools and museums.

Michael Kasumovic, an Associate Professor at UNSW is founder of an organisation creating simple mobile games, to make learning social and experiential.   Arludo consists of a young team who have been producing games since 2016, with a quest to ‘improve scientific thinking for students of all genders, ages and socioeconomic levels.’

When reflecting on the pandemic, climate change and other pervading issues he considers the distrust between the scientific community and the greater community to be something that the Festival helps to address.  “I want to attract people that really don’t engage in science, who don’t really see it as important and to show them that this is a part of something bigger, that scientists are just real people.”

Arludo is presenting Low Battery, a live streaming event on Friday 21 August (11am-6pm), that pitches 15 young scientists from across Sydney to play videogames in groups of three while in conversation.

Initially working in genetics and molecular biology, Sydney-based artist Steven Durbach, AKA Sid Sledge, has been using his scientific knowledge to inform his creative practice since moving from South Africa in the early 2000s.  A lot of what drives his situated drawing and kinetic sculptures is a sense of play and repetitive experimentation.  “You can’t necessarily direct knowledge to evolve, you have to be open to the unexpected processes of discovery through serendipity.”

Durbach will be the host of a series of four conversations between artists and scientists that he has invited to oscillate and illuminate a number of wider thematic concerns over a rapidly changing world. Coffee in the Studio includes the pairing of Paul Thomas, Professor at UNSW Art and Design and Sven Rogge, Professor in the School of Physics at UNSW, 8pm Saturday 22 August.

Technology springs from what is called invention, discovery, development, or planning.  In the realm of new technologies, content, not just the mechanism for delivery, is key and this is where artists and creatives provide aesthetics that hold the imagination in sensory wonderment.

“For me I see the arts as the key for making all this more interesting, so it’s all very well for scientists to go out and talk about their research, but if you pair a scientist with an artist, you can really create something that is memorable,” Jackie Randles, Manager of Inspiring Australia NSW.

The Sydney Science Trail orientates you around a program of activities for all ages: live events; podcasts; interactive activities; downloadable activities and games. It begins at the Sydney Harbour, an opening that transforms into an entranceway becoming a liminal passageway of the actual and the virtual, the past and the future.

As you are drawn into the multifaceted design, the trail offers visual playfulness set in a fluid landscape of five areas for a multiplicity of interactions from the comfort of your home: Plants situated at the Royal Botanic Gardens; Animals housed in a range of enclosures including Taronga Zoo; Earth circulates at the Australian Museum; Space can be viewed at the Sydney Observatory and Technology stationed at Macquarie University.   Registrations are free from Saturday 15 August to 15 September.

The Sydney NSW Science Festival program is part of a national strategy to engage Australians with the sciences in our everyday life.  Inspiring Australia NSW has produced the open-source program for Sydney, NSW with generative and interactive feature events, customised to this year’s schools theme, Deep Blue: innovations for the future of our oceans and features the establishment of the Blue Economy CRC.

There is something for everyone.  Press play.  Visit:

National Science Week 15 August – 23 August 2020 Interviews: Talking Through Your Arts on Eastside Radio 89.7FM 6-6.30pm Wednesdays Jackie Randles, Manager of Inspiring Australia NSW, Steven Durbach AKA Sid Sledge, Michael Kasumovic, Associate Professor UNSW