Countdown to Peterborough’s first free STEM festival

TiaPress Release

For immediate release

26th September, 2016


Peterborough’s first ever free Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Festival is set to take place this Saturday (1st October).

The festival promises to inspire and engage younger people, families, as well as girls that are thinking of taking up a career in STEM-related subjects. Over 500 people have already signed up.

It is being organised by Digital People in Peterborough (DPiP), a non-profit community group, with support from Peterborough City Council and Allia Future Business Centre. Sponsors include City Fibre, Heart Internet, PJ Care, Peterborough Regional College and Perkins Engines.

The main event will take place at the Allia Future Business Centre, located behind the ABAX Stadium, in London Road, from 10am – 4pm.

Tia Lush, a festival organiser, said: “We have an amazing line-up of speakers, workshops and other activities, covering subjects as diverse as missions into space, robotics and computer coding. This is about inspiring younger people to get involved in science, technology, engineering, and maths, and to become tomorrow’s innovators.

“This festival gives participants the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience, and to meet some fantastic role models. If it’s STEM and new, unusual or surprising, then you can expect to find it here at the main event this Saturday. It promises to be a fantastic event for both young people and families.”

Festival workshops include solving environmental problems, based on Raspberry Pi technology; an interactive and inspirational workshop with women in STEM; building your own hand-held games controller; interactive science and engineering experiments; and challenges based on Minecraft.

Some of the workshops need to be booked in advance so it is advisable to visit the website and to review relevant information before the event.

Exhibitions and other activities include laser-cutting to make racing cars; computer coding; DNA and genetics; cognitive assessment; science experiments from the Oxbridge Academy; and interacting with a humanoid robot. Marc Scott., author of A Beginner’s Guide to Coding, will also be available for book signings.

Confirmed inspirational talks and presentations from STEM enthusiasts and professionals, include:

• Katie Hassell, Senior Spacecraft Thermal Engineer at Airbus Defence & Space: “Find out what it takes to keep the spacecraft Solar Orbiter cool”

• Dr Katie Steckles, Mathematician: “Mathematics of board games”

• Paul Curry, Editorial Developer at BuzzFeed UK: “A Beginner’s Guide To Shipping Fun Things Quickly”

• Sarah Elmore, Edge Diagnostic Physicist: “Making a Star on Earth”

• Marc Scott, Astro Pi: ‘Marc will give you the behind the scenes on what it actually took to send Rasberry Pi computers into space!’

• Steve Warburton, Principal at Greater Peterborough UTC: “Help – there’s a Robot in my Classroom!”

• Melissa Gartside, Caterpillar: “Materials Engineering – CSI for Engineers”

• Jen Gupta, Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth: “The Invisible Universe”

• Sue Nelson, Science Producer and Broadcaster: “Reporting the Rosetta mission”

There will also be a special appearance from Suw Charman-Anderson, Founder of Ada Lovelace Day, at a fringe event on 5th October. The debate night will take place at Bewiched Café in Bridge Street at 7pm and will be a chance to discuss the achievements of women in STEM and how we can engage and encourage more girls to take up a STEM career.

For full details on the Peterborough STEM Festival visit:

Notes to Editor

Picture: Please contact us for low and high res files of the artwork for the Peterborough STEM Festival.

Digital People in Peterborough (DPiP) is a non-profit community group and organised by volunteers. In two years we have expanded from 10 members to over 400 members with 50 regular attendees each month.

Our events are open to anyone working in or with an interest in digital – from those employed by large organisations, freelancers, start-up founders or simply enthusiasts. All disciplines are welcomed and encouraged. Member industries include development, design, content creation, marketing, databases, security, systems administration, among others.

Confirmed workshops, which require booking, include:


Solve a problem or challenge with an STEM/sustainability twist. Will be based on the Raspberry Pi and Pi-Top and led by Marc Scott and team. Working on broad STEM themes and topics we will ask participants to solve a problem or challenge with a STEM/ sustainability twist such as:

• Monitoring energy consumption in a house
• Wildlife monitoring systems
• Automated cost / mile for car vs public transport system

STEMettes (Women in STEM) Panel – interactive workshop

This is especially for girls who are curious about a STEM career. Hear from women about their amazing roles within STEM, meet them, listen to their stories and their advice for you, the next generation. Refreshments included, as well as quizzes and prizes, lots of fun and some goody bags.

MakeyMakey Mayhem with Hacklab

Design and make an arcade-based game. Using the MakeyMakey board, you’ll pick a game from our Arcade and then design a physical controller you’ll make yourself! It’s a great tool for creating new digital interfaces. From the infamous ‘banana piano’ to hilarious ‘puppet boxing’ video games, the MakeyMakey is only limited by your imagination. At the end of the session, we’ll all play each other’s crazy new games in our ‘Hand-Made Arcade!’

Chain Reaction with Cambridge Science Centre

Twenty teams will each build a crazy contraption that links to the next with the pull of a string – creating a spectacular chain that weaves its way around the venue, resulting in an exciting launch. The whole family can get involved in this team-based engineering and science activity.

Minecraft Challenges

The challenge will be broken into two different sections for Advanced and Beginners. You will h ave an option in both to cover one of two challenges – Space or Water & Lava. So get your Engineering and Science (Chemistry) hats on! The Advanced challenge will cover Red Stone whereas the Beginner option will be to just build. Prizes will be awarded to all participants.

All exhibitions and demonstrations, which do not require booking, include:

Design and engineer your own laser-cut racing car

Come and see how a laser cutting machine can make car parts which can be put together to build a model car that you will then race on a purpose built track

Get coding BBC Micro:bit

Get into computing with BBC Microbit. Find out how the single biggest government funded computing project can get adults and children into computing. Get hands-on experience with the Block Editor, code and then compile the device.

Explore the wonders of DNA through a range of hands-on activities with staff from the Wellcome Genome Campus

What can genetics tell us about a person? Unravel the structure of DNA with our sequence bracelets and find out how your genes affect your ability to smell and taste. Scientists from the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge will be on hand to help you and answer your questions.

Test and train YOUR cognition!

MyCognition are soon to launch a ground-breaking cognitive assessment and training tool online and in the app store. You will get a hands on experience with the new app. It combines two elements, a short assessment which draws on 200 years of research and a game, AquaSnap, that adapts to deliver a personalised, holistic training experience. It will give you a huge insight into your own cognition.

Oxbridge Academy Courses

Interactive scientific demonstrations for a range of university science topics led by our mentors from Cambirdge University. Come and learn something new in a field of science you won’t have heard of at school!

Pepper the Robot

Pepper is much more than a robot, she is a genuine humanoid companion created to communicate with you in the most natural and intuitive way, through her body movements and her voice. Pepper is capable of interacting with you and wants to learn more about your tastes, your habits and quite simply who you are. Pepper can recognise your face, speak, hear you and move around autonomously. Our four foot robot Pepper is capable of interacting with humans and is able to detect and respond to your emotions. The team at Greater Peterborough UTC would be delighted to meet you and show you what Pepper is capable of.

Book signing with Author Marc Scott

A Beginner’s Guide to Coding is an easy-to-follow guide to the basics of coding, using the free programming languages of Scratch and Python. These step-by-step projects will have you talking to your own chatbot or making your own computer games in no time. Accessible, engaging and fun, this book is bursting with eye-catching illustrations and fantastic projects to introduce you to the world of coding. Buy your copy of the book at the festival and get it personally signed by the author Marc Scott (around midday).

For more information on DPiP visit

For all media enquiries regarding the Peterborough STEM Festival, please call: David Ward at Ward Communications on 07943 830144.