Discover the wonders of life this November at BioFest 2023

Curious minds are invited to embark on a captivating journey into the world of cutting-edge bioscience research as the University of Sheffield launches BioFest, a unique new festival designed to illuminate the wonders of life.

Biofest logo
  • BioFest 2023 will explore how the University of Sheffield’s world-leading researchers are tackling the five biggest challenges facing humanity
  • The free festival will showcase its work to new audiences through a series of installations, exhibitions, talks, films and podcasts from 1-30 November 2023
  • Contributors include acclaimed artists Luke Jerram, Kid Acne, Paul Evans and Jessica Heywood; and distinguished bioscientists Professor Geraint Tarling (British Antarctic Survey), Professor Martha Clokie (University of Leicester) and Professor Peter Coffey (University College London)
  • Hands-on exhibits aimed at ages 5-11 will offer stimulation and inspiration for the next generation of bioscientists

Curious minds are invited to embark on a captivating journey into the world of cutting-edge bioscience research as the University of Sheffield launches BioFest, a unique new festival designed to illuminate the wonders of life.

Through a diverse programme of powerful events, BioFest will explore how the University’s world-leading School of Biosciences researchers are tackling the five biggest challenges facing humanity: climate change, food security, healthy ageing, antimicrobial resistance and biodiversity. 

From 1-30 November 2023, the University will host installations, exhibitions, talks, films and podcasts to showcase its work on these critical themes to new audiences, all of which are open to the public free of charge. The full BioFest programme can be found here:

The festival’s programme features exciting contributions from accomplished artists and distinguished scientists alike. Internationally acclaimed artist Luke Jerram, renowned street artist and hip-hop musician Kid Acne, and artists Paul Evans and Jessica Heywood will showcase newly commissioned works. These pieces are the result of collaborations with researchers and PhD students and offer fresh perspectives on the intersections of art and science. 

Ecoli in Winter Garden

BioFest will also feature talks by some of the most prominent figures in the field of bioscience. Distinguished speakers such as Professor Geraint Tarling from The British Antarctic Survey, Professor Peter Coffey from University College London and Professor Martha Clokie from the University of Leicester will share insights and research, providing attendees with an opportunity to interact with experts at the forefront of scientific discovery.

In addition to showcasing current research from across the University and beyond, BioFest aims to inspire the next generation of bioscientists. With hands-on exhibits suited to ages 5-11, information on career pathways and a collaborative film made with pupils from five Sheffield schools, there is plenty to stimulate the innovators of tomorrow. 

Professor John Derrick, Vice-President and Head of the Faculty Science, said: "BioFest is a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the world-leading research taking place in the Faculty in a fun and engaging manner."

Professor Matt Johnson, Director of BioFest, said: "We're so excited to share with audiences from across Sheffield and beyond how our state-of-the-art research at the School of Biosciences is addressing the biggest problems facing humanity. 

“We'll tell this sensational story through a series of compelling artworks, films, podcasts, lectures and hands-on demonstrations, suitable for, and gripping to all ages. Don't miss it!"

BioFest is another highlight in the University’s festival calendar of events to connect the public with its research. 

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture, added: “One of the things this University loves to do is open our doors to the city and communities around us and engage them with the amazing research we do here. Through BioFest, we want to inspire the next generation of budding bioscientists as well as provoke and challenge our ideas about the world around us. We can’t wait to add BioFest to the city’s 2023 cultural calendar of events.” 

BioFest Discovery Nights (14 & 15 November)

Two evenings of science discovery featuring artworks, short films from award winning creative agency Human and hands-on activities suitable for a range of ages and designed to convey our science in an accessible and digestible way, including:

Microcosmos - Luke Jerram 

A series of glass and inflatable sculptures by internationally renowned installation artist Luke Jerram, exploring the critical role played by an almost infinite forest of invisible phytoplankton in our oceans in absorbing CO2 and thereby regulating the Earth’s climate. Luke’s giant inflatable E.coli and Glass Microbiology sculptures will also be on display in the Winter Garden and Millennium Gallery throughout the festival (pictured).

Corporeal Corruption - Jessica Heywood 

An evocative and emotive series of digital prints and video installations by Jessica Heywood exploring the growth and metastasis of breast cancer cells, touching on issues of how and why we age through a tunnel of imagery. 

Assembly of the Self - Kid Acne 

A vibrant new set of works by celebrated Sheffield street artist and hip-hop musician Kid Acne exploring the importance of neuroscience in relation to human health.

Biodiversity+++ & Keystones, Umbrellas, Flagships - Paul Evans

Two collaborative pieces by artist and environmental activist Paul Evans including a split screen installation and giant playable artwork exploring the biodiversity crisis.

BioFest online 

A series of films and podcasts exploring how our scientists are tackling the biggest global challenges facing humanity in the next 50 years - available to watch and listen during the festival and beyond on the University of Sheffield Player


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Events at the University

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