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The science behind 2013 in NewcastleGateshead

10th December 2012

Categories: Latest News

150 years after renowned Newcastle-born engineer Lord Armstrong became president of the British Science Association, the city will host the UK’s biggest annual science event in September 2013, the British Science Festival – bringing innovation and creativity together in one of UK’s standout cultural destinations. 

The British Science Festival welcomes hundreds of the UK’s top scientists in a programme that offers everything from lectures, debates and hands-on activity for schools and families, to comedy and theatre. While 2013 will also see the city host the world-famous Maker Faire in April – the UK version of the festival has made a home for itself at Newcastle’s Life Science Centre - it’s the fourth time the event has taken place in the city.

Speaking on the year-ahead, Carol Bell, head of culture and major events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “NewcastleGateshead is the perfect place for science and culture to come together. We have a strong heritage in both, and creativity is often at the heart of life-changing scientific innovation, it’s especially significant that British Science Festival has chosen Newcastle in the anniversary year that Armstrong became president of the Association, 150 years ago.

“NewcastleGateshead is responsible for the world’s first locomotive engine thanks to Robert Stephenson; Joseph Swan invented the incandescent light bulb and demonstrated it for the first time to Newcastle’s Literary and Philosophical Society; and most recently, Centre for Life has been at the forefront of stem-cell research. With many famous inventors having lived, worked and studied in the city – leading to some of today’s favourite technologies including the iPod – it’s fantastic that scientists, inventors, and artists continue to flock here to showcase their sometimes wacky, and always wonderful, ideas to colleagues, peers and the public.”

Year-round the city is home to several major science attractions, with highlights including the award-winning Life Science Centre, Discovery Museum and the Great North Museum. Events in the city throughout 2013 such as The Late Shows (May), a special ‘culture crawl’ returning for its sixth year, will give visitors a unique chance to experience these inspiring attractions after dark when the city’s museums, galleries and entertainment venues reopen their doors after closing time.

Heritage Open Days (September) will also give visitors a chance to bring local engineering history to life as they experience some of NewcastleGateshead’s most important and influential spaces not ordinarily open to the public. Venues such as the Stephenson Works, the original locomotive works opened by Robert Stephenson in 1823, will open their doors for four special days, allowing visitors to stand in the very spot where history was made 190 years ago, with the invention of the first steam powered locomotive engine.

As well as showcasing it’s scientific credentials, NewcastleGateshead’s annual programme of festivals and events will animate and inspire the place throughout the course of the year, featuring an enviable line up including the Evolution Festival (May) and BUPA Great North Run (September), as well as EAT! NewcastleGateshead (August), Juice Festival (October), and NewcastleGateshead’s Winter Festival (December) – all of which are produced and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

NewcastleGateshead: 2013 listings


• Live Theatre 40th anniversary (1973)
• Lord Armstrong became president of the British Science Association - then known as The British Association for the advancement of Sciences - and addressed their annual conference here in 1863 - 150th anniversary at  2013 British Science Festival in Newcastle
• Robert Stephenson was born 16 October 1803 at Wilmington Quay (210th anniversary) and in 1823 he founded a locomotive engine workshop with his father on Tyneside (190th anniversary)
• Newcastle’s museum of Science and engineering relaunched as Discovery Museum in 1993 (20th anniversary)
• 220th anniversary of the Lit & Phil opening (1793)


Chinese New Year Celebrations
Sunday 10 February 2013

Kung Hey Fat Choi! Join us in and around Newcastle’s Stowell Street to celebrate the Year of the Snake. Enjoy traditional crafts, dance, martial arts, food and drink, games and much more with a vibrant and colourful party. Watch the spectacular dragon, lion and unicorn dances under the ornate Ceremonial Arch.

Gateshead International Jazz Festival
The Sage Gateshead
05-07 April 2013

The Sage Gateshead will host the ninth Gateshead International Jazz Festival – the first in the UK jazz calendar year - from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th April 2013, with jazz from across the globe filling every corner of the building over three days.

Maker Faire
Centre for Life
27- 28 April 2013

The world-famous MAKER FAIRE returns to the UK for a weekend of robots, garden shed inventions, the occasional fireball and lots more. 300 makers will present their interactive projects alongside playful performances, installations and workshops.

Fiddles on Fire
The Sage Gateshead
03-05 May 2013

The fifth bi-annual festival of its kind at The Sage Gateshead will see the building come alive with fiddle music from across the world.

GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre
Various locations across Gateshead
04-06 May 2013

GIFT returns this year to bring together new theatre makers from around the world for an explosive bank-holiday weekend of performances, workshops and discussions. Events will take place inside and outside of venues in and around Gateshead town centre including Gateshead Old Town Hall and St. Mary’s Heritage Centre to offer an immediate cultural and creative response to the re- development of the area.

The Late Shows
Various locations across NewcastleGateshead
17-18 May 2013

The Late Shows is an inspiring, after dark programme of events and exhibitions centring on the cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead that are usually closed in the evening.  Museums, galleries and visitor attractions stay up late to encourage people to do something cultural with their evening – in celebration of the international event ‘Museums at Night’

Evolution Festival
Various locations across NewcastleGateshead
26-27 May 2013

Having hosted the likes of Tinie Tempah and Plan B, Evolution is now firmly established as one of the key events in the national calendar, opening the annual summer music festival season.  Described by Clash Magazine as 'the UKs model City Festival' Evolution takes place on the banks of the River Tyne and straddles the iconic Quayside that straddles the twin cities.

Festival of the North East
Various Locations across North East England
01-30 June 2013

Festival of the North East is a month long celebration of the region’s creativity and innovation.  Throughout June 2013 there will be over two hundred events - free and ticketed - for people of every age, making it one of the largest festivals in the UK.

Across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley look out for a far-reaching programme of music concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, theatre shows; projects about science, engineering, literature, heritage, the natural world and much, much more. With indoor and outdoor events, from the very big to the very small, the Festival of the North East has something for everyone. There’s a lot going on up here.

¡VAMOS! Festival 2013
Various locations across NewcastleGateshead
14 June – 14 July 2013

¡VAMOS! is a festival that celebrates Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures in NewcastleGateshead, UK. Additionally there are events throughout the year alongside the festival programme. ¡VAMOS! combines cuisine, art, film, theatre, dance, music, literature, fashion, sport and education. It offers an international festival appealing to artists, partners and mainstream audiences that is unconstrained by art form, age-group or regional location.
For more information go to

European Athletics Team Championships 2013
Gateshead International Stadium
22-23 June 2013 

The European Athletics Team Championships is the first major athletics event in the UK since the London 2012 Games and the perfect opportunity to see Great Britain and Northern Ireland in action.
Twelve countries from across Europe will compete in 20 men's and 20 women's events including 100m, long jump and relay.

Don’t miss your chance to see Great Britain and N.I. take on Belarus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and Turkey as they battle to become European Team Champions. With the emphasis placed on national team points instead of individual results, the unpredictability of a team performance coupled with the battle for national pride is sure to have spectators on the edge of their seats! Adults from £11, concessions from £6

Virgin Money Cyclone
Various Locations across North East England
27-30 June 2013

The Virgin Money Cyclone Festival of Cycling was created in 2007 to encourage as many people as possible to get out on their bikes, get fitter and enjoy the countryside. It is a multi faceted event designed to cater for the needs of competitive and none competitive cyclists.

Lindisfarne Gospels
01 July-30 September 2013

In the summer of 2013, one of the world’s greatest books, the Lindisfarne Gospels will be on show in a unique exhibition in Durham University’s Palace Green Library as part of a partnership between Durham University, Durham Cathedral, Durham County Council and the British Library. 

The must-see exhibition, in the heart of Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site will take the form of a compelling new contemporary interpretation of one of the nation’s most enduring stories, the tale of the North’s most famous saint - St Cuthbert, and one of the world’s greatest books – the Lindisfarne Gospels.  Housed in new world-class facilities, the forthcoming exhibition represents the closest and most vivid way for centuries, to experience the wonder of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Ashes Test – England v Australia
Durham County Cricket Club, Riverside Stadium
09-13 August

The England v Australia match is part of a package of games, which will see Riverside host the Twenty20 Cup Finals Day in 2015 and an England Test Match in 2016.

EAT! NewcastleGateshead
Various locations across NewcastleGateshead
24 August-01 September 2013

NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s acclaimed food festival, EAT! NewcastleGateshead, returns for a seventh year in 2013. Championing local food producers, restaurants and culinary talent in NewcastleGateshead and North East England, its eclectic and imaginative events programme helps people to see food in a brand new way - tasty favourites including The Big EAT! Weekend will be served up once again.

British Science Festival
07-15 September 2013

The British Science Festival is organised each year by The British Science Association to bring together hundreds of the UK’s top scientists, journalists and tens of thousands of members of the public. The Festival lasts over six days and events range from lectures and debates for adults, to hands-on activity for schools and families, to comedy, theatre and expeditions.

Heritage Open days
Various locations across NewcastleGateshead
12-15 September 2013

Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.
Every year on four days in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.

Great North Run Weekend - including Junior & Mini Great North Run & Great North Street Games
dates tbc

The most high profile half marathon in the world will in 2012 be the first international athletics event since the Olympics and provide an unmissable opportunity to see some of the Olympic stars in action. A series of professional and junior athletics activities on the Saturday of the Great North Run weekend has been developed over the last few years, using NewcastleGateshead Quaysides as a 'virtual arena'.

Juice – NewcastleGateshead’s Festival for Children and Young People
25 October – 04 November 2013

October half term in NewcastleGateshead signals the arrival of Juice Festival. The 12 day festival showcases outstanding work created by children and young people as well as a family friendly programme delivered by regional, national and international artists.

BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival
dates tbc

The BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival is a weekend of talks, debates, conversation and performance, with a number of eminent speakers including leading broadcasters, artists, scientists and writers.

NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival: Enchanted Parks
Saltwell Park, Gateshead, Dates tbc

The award-winning Enchanted Parks transforms Saltwell Park in Gateshead after dark with innovative and atmospheric creations using visual art installations, light, sound and performance on a large and small scale.

NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival: NYE Winter Carnival
Central Newcastle, 31 December 2012

The annual New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival sees the Newcastle Ice Queen and her entourage of local community participants parading through the streets of Newcastle, culminating in an early evening fireworks display.


For media enquiries contact:
Rebecca Stephenson                                    
Marketing & Communications Intern             
T. +44 (0)191 440 5771                                         

Shelley Armstrong
Media & PR Manager
T. +44 (0)191 440 5739
M. +44 (0)7717 631 109

Notes to editors:

• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils, working with around 165 private sector member organisations across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region.

All of our activity aims to promote and position NewcastleGateshead as a world-class vibrant tourism destination, through targeted marketing and PR campaigns nationally and internationally and through the work of our cultural programming team and convention bureau.

NewcastleGateshead Initiative is supported by a board offering expertise from a range of sectors and professions. We also work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and businesses, who share our ambition to promote NewcastleGateshead as a world-class place in which to live, learn, work, and visit.

• United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. World-class culture, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are combined here like nowhere else, by the famous Geordie spirit which is symbolised by Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North as it welcomes travellers to the area.

Imagery / Photography opportunities:
• - NewcastleGateshead’s Initiative’s extensive royalty free image library

Useful links:
• - NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s media website
• - destination website for NewcastleGateshead
• - NewcastleGateshead’s visitor pass website

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