Space and Astronomy Tours (SAT)

My flagship Space and Astronomy Tour (SAT) are framed as extended public engagement visits to remote communities, where I deliver a mixture of public (evening) events, interact with local Astronomy groups, and visit schools and local youth groups. They sometimes also coincide with, or link into, other projects such as science festivals or scientific or community development workshops. Events delivered are a dynamic mix of talks and hands-on activities, showcasing both high-tech kits as well as significant historical artefacts.

The SATs have so far visited Isaly (2016), Orkney (2017), Northern Highlands (2018), Skye, Outer Hebrides, Highlands and Inverness-shire (Spring-Summer 2019), Orkney, Caithness, Shetland and Aberdeen (Summer-Autumn 2019), and Southern Outer Hebrides (Summer 2023).

Charles Piazzi Smyth 200th Anniversary of Birth – CPS200

In 2019, SATs have been part of the celebration of Charles Piazzi Smyth’s (CPS) 200th anniversary of birth, led by Prof Andy Lawrence. As well as being an Astronomer of note, and the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland, CPS was a photographic and spectrographic pioneer, inventor of mountain-top astronomy, a popular author, an Egyptologist, the originator of the Edinburgh Time Ball and One O’Clock Gun, and a significant figure in the life of the City of Edinburgh.

Space Enlightenment Festival

The pan-Scottish Social Dimensions of Outer Space network organised the inaugural Space Enlightenment Festival (SEF) in Spring/Summer 2019, in order to highlight the vital contribution of humanities and social science to framing the future of Scottish and global engagement with outer space. This festival coincided with several key anniversaries, including the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon.

The festival timeline “launched” at the Edinburgh International Science Festival edition of the Shoreline of Infinity’s Event Horizon (11th April 2019) and concluded with a “landing”, the conclusion of our seminar series and opening of the “Outer Space Landed in Scotland” mini-exhibition, marking on the 50th anniversary of the first human Moon landing (19th July 2019).

The festival combined several academic activities (such as a seminar series and a pedagogical workshop) with some public events (talks, round-tables, exhibitions). In total, we coordinated about 20 activities, some delivered exclusively by/for the expanding membership of the Social Dimension of Outer Space network (these are called “vehicles”) and others in partnership with external contributors, organisations and institutions/venues (called “satellites”).

Working with real Stars – Fiona McAndrew

To most this will not come as a surprise: over the past few years, I have been working on several arts and science projects. One of the latest ones in this series of collaborations I have been involved with is the production of “The Waders’ Lullaby” with multimedia artist, Fiona McAndrew.

Fiona was an Artist In Residence at the Edinburgh College Of Art (ECA) since September 2017 and has worked on a touching animation about the yearly Iceland-Scotland migration of godwits to accompany a beautiful lullaby she has composed earlier on.
You can find out more about her journey (and my minimal involvement!) in a blog she wrote about it all.

BIS Scotland

Building on over 80 years of BIS history and harnessing the exciting developments in the Scottish Space Sector, the recently re-launched BIS Scotland branch presents a programme of combined technical and social events to connect professionals and enthusiasts in the Space arena.

We are arranging talks and meetings across Scotland, open to current and future BIS members (i.e. everyone!). We particularly work with Colleges and Universities in the region to engage young people; and also with Astronomy Societies to build on existing interests and expertise. We also closely support other professional groupings in the area, such as the Space Technology Scotland Meet-Up initiative.

Join us as we continue to explore our place in Space.