First look at the 2023 Cambridge Festival programme with more than 360 events
The University of Cambridge has offered a sneak preview of what will be coming up in this year’s Cambridge Festival, which offers more than 360 events.
Hot topics this year include an in-depth look at how we move from global risks to global safety, results from the largest four-day working week trial, greenwashing tactics to look out for, the latest in artificial intelligence - including a virtual game of football with AI players - and the future of heart valve replacement.
The annual Cambridge Festival amalgamated and replaced the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas back in 2020. It runs from March 17 until April 2 and bookings will open from 10am on Monday, February 13, when the full programme will be unveiled.
Cambridge Festival manager David Cain said: “The programme this year must be one of the best I have worked on. It’s literally got everything, from thought-provoking talks and debates that share the latest research into many of the issues affecting us all, to poetry, comedy, performance, art, film and so much more. I strongly encourage everyone to check out the programme on February 13 and take advantage of the hundreds of free events on offer. There is bound to be something that appeals to their interests.”
Notable guests this year include: the journalist and former lead anchor of BBC’s Newsnight, Emily Maitlis, Astronomer Royal Professor Lord Martin Rees, professor of politics David Runciman, The Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer John Crace, climatologist Professor Emily Shuckburgh, the editor-in-chief at the news website openDemocracy, Peter Geoghegan, the former head of news and current affairs at Channel 4 and president of Murray Edwards College, Dorothy Byrne, leading economist Professor Ha-Joon Chang, solar scientist Dr Helen Mason and marine biologist and author Dr Helen Scales.
Divided into five themes - power, society, health, environment and discovery - the festival includes debates, talks, exhibitions, workshops, films, tours, performances and launch events for several new books. It also has a full programme for children and families.
One of the most anticipated events will be a discussion of new research into a trial of the four day week. In ‘The 4 day week, here to stay?’, a full account of the results from this trial are presented with recommendations for organisations wanting to reduce their working hours. What was the impact on the wellbeing of employees, and the performance of the organisations? What was the impact on the carbon footprint of the organisations?
In the discussions on AI, research from the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Cambridge looks for new ways to induce AI agents – such as robots, machines and driverless cars – to achieve common goals while working in shared spaces like warehouses and roads. In ‘A Virtual Football Game with WI Footballers’, a team of AI footballers are shown learning how to play with each other and explain scientists show how the simulator is helping in AI research.
And there is a huge amount on offer for the family during the festival, including what promises to be a lively presentation by marine biologist Dr Helen Scales, who showcases her new book, Scientists in the wild: Galápagos (March 2023). The book centres on a team of scientists who are tasked with studying and protecting the islands’ amazing wildlife. The two festival weekends are dominated by hundreds of events for people of all ages as the city is taken over by an extravaganza of festival talks, exhibitions, hands-on activities, workshops, escape rooms, games, and more.
In-person events are supplemented by virtual ones, and there will be workshops too.
Visit www.festival.cam.ac.uk from February 13 to see the programme and book.