Public festival explores science through art, comedy and debate


Returning for its 11th year, the Leeds Festival of Science will feature stand-up comedy, engaging debates and a world-record colouring challenge.

The Festival will run from Saturday 5 March to Wednesday 23 March across various venues in Leeds, including the University campus, St James's University Hospital and Trinity Leeds shopping centre.

Dr Ruth Holland, one of the Festival organisers, said: “Science is a subject that appeals to our natural curiosity, and comedy, music and art offer new ways of providing a visual and entertaining way of exploring complex research.”

Taking the stage on Thursday, 10 March is the Bright Club Leeds event. Bright Club is a concept that originated in a pub to discover what would happen if comedians, musicians, writers and academics came together to create an evening of live entertainment.

The performers are often not professional comedians, but a group of researchers who can give a hilarious talk on their work. (Tickets cost £5 and are available on the door.)

There are also many family-friendly events in the Festival, including a challenge to complete what we believe to be the largest colouring page in the world, taking place throughout the day at Trinity Leeds shopping centre on Saturday 12 March.

Children can help colour the 6 metres by 2 metres drawing that depicts careers in engineering, produced by students at the Leeds College of Art. Free copies of an accompanying Engineering Colouring Book will be available on the day to take home.

Dr Kerry Baker, also on the organising team for the Festival said: “The colouring book has been designed to showcase the breadth and importance of engineering careers to people of all ages in a fun way. Using the colouring book concept, children and parents can learn about engineering while putting their creativity into practice – a very important skill for all engineers.”

Another headline act is award-winning comedian Matt Parker, who will be bringing his unique style of maths-based comedy to the University on the evening of Friday, 18 March. (Please note that booking is essential for this event. Tickets cost £6 and the show is suitable for ages 16+.)

On Saturday, 19 March the University will open its doors to the public for the Be Curious event, to showcase research into health and wellbeing.

From having your face 3D scanned through to learning more about how joint replacements work, the Be Curious event is taking over the iconic Parkinson Building for the day to celebrate people’s natural curiosity about how their bodies work.

The Festival of Science coincides with British Science Week, which runs from 11-20 March and is organised by the British Science Association to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities across the UK to people of all ages.

The schedule for the events highlighted above at a glance:

  • Thursday 10 March, Bright Club Leeds (Venue: The Fenton pub, Woodhouse Lane)
  • Saturday 12 March, Engineering Colouring Book (Venue: Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds shopping centre)
  • Friday 18 March, Matt Parker’s Adventures in the Fourth Dimension (Venue: Conference Auditorium, University of Leeds)
  • Saturday 19 March, Be Curious (Parkinson Building, University of Leeds)

For the full programme of events, please follow the links for the Leeds Festival of Science and the Be Curious event.

Further information

Journalists wishing to attend or film any of the events should contact the University’s press office on 0113 343 4031 or email

Dr Ruth Holland and Dr Kerry Baker, organisers of the Leeds Festival of Science, are also available to talk about any of the events.