31st March 2021

From the Ocean Abyss to the Power of Numbers!

From the Ocean Abyss to the Power of Numbers!

Over 350 online events. Over 100,000 views (and still counting) from 173 countries!

This makes the Cambridge Festival, even in its inaugural year, the largest and most successful University of Cambridge Festival ever and one of the UK’s most successful online festivals in the last year. The number is also expected to grow as people continue to watch the various talks that have been uploaded to the University’s YouTube channels.

The new, interdisciplinary Cambridge Festival (replacing the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas) has brought together an eclectic mix of  world-leading experts and academics on topics as varied as AI, Royal Mistresses, Organoids, Democracy, Climate Change and Mental Health to name but a few.

Cambridge Filmworks have worked as Digital Partners to the University and help to deliver a Festival full of surprises and insights. The Festival has been entirely online with strong and distinct platforms for the Sciences and the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The new Festival includes a uniquely Cambridge mixture of over 350 events and activities: from panel discussions, film premieres, and self-guided walking tours, to ‘try this at home’ activities for the whole family. Topics cover the breadth of Cambridge research and will be presented across the Festival’s four themes: Society, Health, Environment and Explore!

Take a sneak peek here of some of the Festival highlights as marine biologist Dr Helen Scales author of the new book The Brilliant Abyss, illuminates the majesty and marvels of the deep sea, statisticians Professor David Spiegelhalter and Tim Harford discuss the power of numbers and Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen explores why do humans invent?

A small selection of Festival goers’ Feedback:


  • “The format of a live online event, also recorded to watch later, is brilliant and accessible. We’ve attended lots of events in the past, but please continue to do some online – it opens up what we are unable to attend.”


  • “Having the choice to attend these events remotely has enormously increased my enthusiasm for this year’s programme. What’s not to love?”


  • “I very much applaud it if the way forward is to offer both face-to-face and online sessions at your future Festivals. Can I ask though that the online recordings (and perhaps even the online events) are run for say a week longer than the festival. There is often so much to delight in and can be better appreciated by not having to gorge all at once (like eating all the Easter eggs at breakfast on Easter Sunday!) but rather being able to pace oneself. One real benefit of online is that it was possible (almost) to do two consecutive sessions whereas this is always an issue at the real events due to travelling about time.”


  • “Thank you so much for offering this online this year – it must serve a much wider community in all senses of the word.”


  • “That was brilliant – I really enjoyed it! Can we have one every week!” – Battle of the Beasts viewer.


Many events are still available to watch via the various YouTube channels:

Talks: https://www.youtube.com/c/cambridgeuniversity/videos  and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoEBu2Q8ia_MKfMgy7-rQPUYtmYSMkL19

To find out more about the Cambridge Festival, please visit: https://www.festival.cam.ac.uk/

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