For Arts Sake late

10 October 2019

originally published by Oxford Times

For Art
s Sake late Sept/early October 2019 by Dane Comerford, Festival Director, IF Oxford

Species habitat loss, energy production, global environmental change or the benefits of a meat-free diet are hot-topic conversations across Oxford for a healthier world, including the City Council, which recently joined the climate emergency declaration. What better way to explore these complex and often bleak issues than through film, art and hands-on activities? IF Oxford Science and Ideas festival, is planning a range of events around understanding and hopefully saving planet Earth.

Many aspects of our world remain a great mystery, and scientists work tirelessly to explore and predict our past, present and future to shape a better future. An insightful film The Most Unknown, (Fri 25 October) follows nine scientists who visit extraordinary places to uncover unexpected answers to questions ranging from the nature of time to how life began?

A striking art exhibition First Imprints (19—28 Oct) takes its own slant on the Cambrian explosion, a key ‘moment’ in the evolution of multicellular organisms, when land and oceans exploded with biodiversity. It probes questions about Earth as a giant snowball, iced-over from the poles to the Equator.

Theres a showing of the documentary-film Let There Be Light (Tue 22 Oct), a window into the story of nuclear energy — the engineering of our Sun — its benefits and challenges. For a century, fusion scientists have tried building a star on earth to generate cheap, clean energy that will never run out. Of course we’re all made of stardust because that’s where hydrogen turns into carbon and other heavier elements, and you meet journalist Kit Chapman and author of the book Superheavy (Fri 25 Oct).

Another appearing is Oxfordshire sustainability journalist Tim Smedley who will be discussing Clearing The Air (Mon 21 Oct). Smedley considers the pollutants in the air we breathe, where they come from and what we can do about them, matching terrifying statistics with stories that inspire hope for the future alongside suggesting practical measures we can all introduce into our daily lives.

There really is thought for all. Check out the full programme at