Past Festivals

IF Oxford 2023

IF Oxford 2023 hosted 108 events in 32 venues and reached 43,000 people through its on-demand or live content during October.

Outputs and impact from IF Oxford 2023, PDF

In 2023, IF Oxford hosted seven zones in north, south, east and central Oxford, with BLAST!, Explorazone, Tech Works, Science @theShops and Robot Racing alongside digital workshops and live events in pubs, churches and cultural spaces.

Dance featured strongly with Feedback Loops interpreting mental health through choreography and generative music. Plastic Drastic Fantastic! explored our global relationship with plastics. Communicating Care used movement and poetry to demonstrate how clinical practitioners examine in detail how conversations work.

Discussion events in venues across the city covered topics including pleasure and pain, psychosis, vaccines, and AI in healthcare.

The Glow Gallery visited Swindon and Daresbury, supporting STFC events, before lighting up Pegasus Theatre for Oxford Light Festival, and the Glow Your Own course helped build coding confidence for the fourth year.

The exhibition and project My City Your City: Postcards from Home, run with Oxford’s seven international Twin Cities, and the Poetry of Science competition are two ongoing projects connecting people with language and writing.

Visitor feedback 2023

IF Oxford regularly attracts a broad demographic and in 2023: 25% were in Key Stages 2 or 3 (age 8–14); over half joined in adult groups; and 15% of adults attend alone – the Festival is an educational and social opportunity for people of all ages.

Half of visitors had either never been to a science-culture event before or might only attend a STEM event every few years.

Visitors rated the event they attended and also the Festival overall as “good” (90%, 6+ out of 10) or “great” (80%, 8+); 90% said they learned something new.


Parent of 10-year-old: “We found the whole event fascinating and it helped in developing my son’s love of learning: thank you!



Festivalgoer, adult: “This is by far one of the very best things Oxford has to offer. An incredibly creative user-friendly range of activities.



IF Oxford 2022

IF Oxford 2022 reached 37,000 people through its magazine and 103 events in 28 venues across the city.

Outputs and impact from IF Oxford 2022, PDF

The Festival offered something for everyone, and people of all ages came solo or with friends and family to connect with everything from the tiniest particles to the biggest challenges facing the the world today.

Highlights were performances in OVADA, talks, films and tours across the city, and family-friendly interactive zones at Wytham field research station, The Barn in Greater Leys and Oxford Business Park near Cowley.

The Glow Your Own programme mixed coding with arts, bringing in Prehension Blooms to combine dance with robotics, and LEDs and photo-active paper to create an interactive display wall in Blackbird Leys.

Family zones, Explorazone, Plants for the FutureTechWorks,  Science at the ShopsAnimal Senses Zone and BLAST! covered the city with science and ideas activities and conversations.

Visitor feedback

IF Oxford makes complex topics accessible and interesting, so 92% of visitors are Very Likely or Likely to tell a friend to try some of the enjoyable science and ideas Festival events.

Visitors rated the event they attended and also the Festival overall as “good” (90%, 6+ out of 10) or “great” (80%, 8+); 90% said they learned something new.

IF Oxford content attracts a broad demographic: 30% are in Key Stages 2 or 3 (age 8–14); over half join in adult groups; and 16% attend alone – the Festival is an educational and social opportunity.


2022 Festival magazine


2022 Festival report


IF Oxford 2021

IF Oxford 2021 reached 35,000 people through more than 100 events and activities over 19 days.

Outputs and impact from IF Oxford 2021, PDF

With print, digital and face-to-face options, the Festival was delivered during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home baking brought flavours of engineering and chemistry to 500 people: How to Bake a Star on Earth featured Bake Off Winner, Sophie Faldo; and chemist Jess Crompton joined chef Jonas Lodge for Chemistry Confections: sweet and savoury.

150 years of Through the Looking Glass inspired writer JC Niala to create Alice’s Adventures Beyond the Canal, taking the work of six researchers from across the UK and USA and translating this into a 21st-century story.

The festival has supported Parasol, an inclusive youth service, on their own ‘science journey’ over three years, and in 2021 matched them up with Oxford Flight Group to make a motion-capture dance music video based on birds: Digital Body Ascent.

Six Glow Your Own workshops transformed technology trepidation into creative coding confidence, building skills in science and tech. Digital artist Cj Zangerle created a QR interactive sculpture for the Leys Community Centre using the same Arduino and LED technology used by our home-coders.

Our covid-safe family zones, Explorazone,  Science at the Shops and BLAST! were a great return to face-to-face interactive activities, stimulating thousands of conversations about science and ideas.


Visitor feedback

“This was a brilliant event – super engaged researchers / presenters and fantastic activities – the whole family loved it! Thank you.” Visitor (BLAST!) ages 74, 44, 6.


“Amazing that this festival has the pay what you decide option and what a great programme!” Visitor.



“It was great having a real hands on event, especially during covid times!” Visitor (Cloud Factory / Explorazone) ages 41, 11.


2021 Festival magazine


2021 Festival report

IF Oxford 2020

IF Oxford 2020 reached 21,000 people through 101 events over 31 days.

The Festival was delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic as a digital and print-led Festival.

Outputs and impact from IF Oxford 2020, PDF

With pubs and restaurants closed, the Festival hosted food and drink events exploring the science of coffee, apples, chocolate and gin, with sample packs sent out by post.

The Festival teamed up with Oxford Playhouse, Mandala Theatre and the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute to create the play small hours

Physiology and Anatomy researchers worked with choreographers, CGI artists and youth dancers from Parasol Project to explore the origin of heartbeats as they used video-grade motion capture to create the animated musical artwork Digital Body: convergent pulses.

Explorazone Digital, the Festival’s flagship interactive event, combined video booths, at-home activities and postal kits sent to homes across the UK and beyond.

The six-week project Glow Your Own involved Harwell researchers and Fusion Arts teaching coding and lantern making skills, distributing Arduinos and electronics kits nationwide.


Visitor feedback

“I’m astounded by the ambition and how brilliantly well you are explaining everything… It’s complex stuff, new to us and yet, here we all are, making it all work, with your help. BIG THANK YOU!”  Visitor (Glow Your Own).


“We love the in-person event in the Town Hall, but have learnt even more as can watch (and re-watch) videos… great to be able to recommend specific videos and activities to friends.”  Visitors (Exlporazone Digital) ages 39, 39, 7.


“I’m autistic and get overwhelmed by sensory input… looking forward to being able to attend everything since it’s online.”  Visitors, ages 42, 43.


2020 Festival magazine


2020 Festival report


IF Oxford 2019

IF Oxford 2019 reached 16,000 people through 105 events in 35 venues over 11 days

Outputs and impact from IF Oxford 2019, PDF

The Festival brought together makeup artists and computer scientists working on AI to test the limits of facial recognition technology with a live demonstration.

The City of Oxford College and the Blackbird Leys Community Development Initiative again hosted state of the art and future technologies and visitors got involved with engineering, forensics, computer coding in several and Iron Age metal smelting.


Visitor feedback

As a family, these events give us common interest. It’s wonderful seeing my husband and son so animated. It inspires conversations that get picked up again and again for weeks afterwards.”  Visitors,  ages 54, 53, 11.

“Great to make it accessible to people like me who don’t normally consider myself interested in science.” Visitor, age 35.


2019 Festival programme


2019 Festival report

IF Oxford 2018

IF Oxford 2018 reached 13,500 people through 100 events in 35 venues over 11 days

Outputs and impact from IF Oxford 2018, PDF

The Festival was headlined by Alexander Whitley Dance Company’s 8 Minutes; choreography inspired by solar physics. By redefining our headline events, we became recognised by arts organisations as a significant cultural provider in the city.

The Black Panther zone in Blackbird Leys was one of a dozen events helping establish new relationships in southeast Oxford.

We challenged neuroscientists to rethink how they described epilepsy research, then supported them to use a ball pond to explore brain chemistry in one of our zones.

200 years of Frankenstein spliced literature with cutting-edge life science and VR.

Visitor feedback

“This is the best thing to do in Oxford. Your brain lights up for the evening.”  Visitor.


“Amazing Festival. I’m so grateful for the opportunity it gives me and my children to learn about science, and especially the science going on in Oxfordshire.” Visitors, ages 43, 13, 11.


2018 Festival programme


2018 Festival report