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YorNight: prestigious European Researchers’ Night returns to York

Posted on 28 August 2015

Over 80 free events will take place in venues across York on Friday 25 September as part of the annual EU-funded European Researchers’ Night.

‘YorNight’ is part of a European initiative that will showcase research in 300 cities across Europe on the same evening. Marking the tenth anniversary of European Researchers’ Night, this year York will celebrate the International Year of Light with a showstopping Music and Light finale in the Museum Gardens. A unique panel event will explore the fascinating story of Richard III with contributions from experts involved in his discovery in Leicester, from an archaeologist to a facial reconstruction expert.

Demonstrating how engaging with academic research can be both fun and relevent to people’s daily lives, YorNight enables the public to engage with a wide array of research through hands-on demonstrations and workshops, accessible talks, tours, games, and demonstrations. All events are free, child-friendly and visitors are encouraged to experience as many of them as possible over the course of the evening.

The University of York won EU funding in 2014, making York one of only four cities in England to host European Researchers’ Night events, along with Birmingham, Bristol and the Natural History Museum, London.

Working in collaboration with a range of organisations including the York Museums Trust, York Explore Library, The Children’s University,  National Railway Museum, NYBEP, English Heritage, C2D2, The Jorvik Group, the University of York has led the development of YorNight.

Highlights of YorNight include:

  • Celebrate the International Year of Light - draw ultraviolet glowing artwork, use infrared cameras, and venture inside the Sundome to find out how the sun works at the Year of Light Hub at King’s Manor
  • Join historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes, presenter of the recent BBC4 series Genius of the Ancient World, talking about ‘Making History Happen’. Bettany Hughes will discuss how women’s research and history in particular should be more widely known, followed by a Q&A (7:30pm, York Explore Library)
  • Rediscover Richard III and what we know about him through a panel event with Professor Caroline Wilkinson, a forensic pioneer in facial reconstruction, Dr Turi King, Lecturer in Genetics and Archaeology at the University of Leicester, and Matthew Morris, an archaeologist on the Leicester dig (7.00 – 8.30pm, Tempest Anderson Hall, Yorkshire Museum)
  • Visit York Explore Library and Learning Centre to explore your family tree and create a heraldic shield
  • Become a passport controller and see how good you are at spotting fake passport photos with the FaceVar Lab team. Discover how you learn to recognise people and if a computer can do the same through this interactive exhibition.
  • Learn more from academics about their research with numerous talks occurring across the city:  Find out about the mystery of dreaming with Professor Tom Stoneham (8:10pm, King’s Manor), discover the weird and wonderful world of blood with Dr Ian Hitchcock (5:20pm, York Medical Society), learn about the history of Jewish music with Dr Stephen Muir (7:40pm, Barley Hall) and Dr Alex Gillett and Dr Kevin Tennent talk about the FIFA World Cup 1966 (7:40pm, King’s Manor)
  • Stargaze in the Observatory at the Yorkshire Museum Gardens from 5pm – 8.30pm
  • Take a sneak preview of the National Railway Museum’s Flying Scotsman restoration and sample an original recipe Flying Scotsman cocktail, traditionally served on the famous locomotive at York Explore.
  • Explore your partner preferences by using face-morphing technology to create a photo of your ideal match, and see how this changes according to age, sex, culture and relationship stage with psychologists from the University of York
  • See your brain in action by looking at your brain waves in real time and learn how they alter through an interactive exhibition at York Explore
  • Explore York’s Cold War bunker with the University of York’s Department of Physics
  • Wrap up the night with a special choral concert set to lights in the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey in the Museum Gardens. A unique collaboration between the departments of Music, Electronics and Physics at the University of York, music will sound like it would have done inside the original abbey (8.45 – 9.15pm, Museum Gardens)

Organised every September since 2005, European Researchers’ Night attracted 1.2 million visitors in 2013 alone.

Joan Concannon, Director of External Relations at the University of York, said: “We are delighted to work with so many partners and collaborators across the city to showcase such incredibly diverse research. The University takes great pride in its role as a public intellectual and to demonstrate why education and research can transform lives. We hope that as many people as possible will experience much of the programme over the course of the evening.”

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