Now Scotland’s first Festival of the Future is to be staged in Dundee to look at how science, design, culture and digital technology could change the world.
The impact of new medical innovations, rising populations, the fight for gender equality, the threat from deadly diseases and developments in artificial intelligence will all be explored during the five-day festival, which is being led by Dundee University.
Special events will look at how the fashion world, the food and drink sectors, architecture, city-building and the computer gaming industry may be revolutionised in the next few years.
Organisers of the festival, who will draw on the expertise of a host of the city’s leading academics, say the new event is aimed at “occupying the space where science and culture collide”.
Due to run from 17 to 21 October, it has evolved out of two previous events staged in the city, the Dundee Literary Festival and Women in Science.
Authors Chris Brookmyre and Ken MacLeod will explore the moral dilemmas at the heart of science fiction and how the genre may have to adapt to changes in artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, Chris Murray, the university’s professor of comic studies, will launch a brand new “scientific advancement superhero” created to show the cutting-edge work that is currently underway in its departments.
Author Louise Welsh will reveal the results of a project which has seen her shadow students and staff at the university, while fellow crime writer Val McDermid will looking at the changing relationships between science and the justice system.
Scientist Kate Stone and her niece, rising singing star Be Charlotte, will demonstrate new technology they have been creating to make digital music in a special event in the new V&A Dundee museum, which opened last month.
Special events will look at what lessons a future Dundee can learn from other fast-changing cities around the world and what needs to be done to ensure new cities have healthy populations and sustainable transport networks.
Other events will look at how feminism may evolve in the aftermath of the #MeToo era as well as how much progress Scotland has really made when it comes to equality and diversity. World-leading researchers from the university’s school of life science will among the speakers at a supper club exploring genetics. The university has pledged that the festival will “celebrate how collaboration across the scientific and creative spheres are helping to address the biggest issues of our times, from the local to the global level.”
A spokesman said: “Each day of the festival will feature workshops aimed at children, young people and adults, debates with academics and external speakers and high-profile events featuring prestigious figures from the worlds of science and culture.”
Festival manager Anna Day said: “The festival comes at an exciting time for the university and the city. It’s a chance to shout out loud about absolutely everything that the university and the city are brilliant at.”
She added: “We will show that fantastic collaboration happens here – not just between different groups in the cultural sector, but between science, the arts, technology, music, dance and design.”