Guidance for speakers


The Science Festival is an opportunity for you to enthuse a wider public audience with your research and with a passion for your subject.

Audiences can include all or any of the following groups:

  • journalists
  • children under 12
  • teenagers
  • adults with no previous knowledge of the topic
  • adults with a little prior knowledge
  • fellow specialists in the field
  • specialists in other fields
  • amateur experts.

Creating a session that can appeal to all groups is quite a challenge. Not all sessions are flagged as suitable for children but we do try to make all of our sessions at once erudite and accessible.

Your presentation

We greatly value the time and energy you put into preparing and delivering your talk. Some things that will help:

  • bear in mind that the Science Festival is not a conference – we are here to entertain, to inspire people, to share our expertise with them and to discuss their own views / ideas
  • please do not read directly from essay text – try to work from notes or bullet points, with occasional ad lib from structured paragraph headings
  • always include pictures in your talk – help is on hand to put these into powerpoint if needed (contact us in advance)
  • minimise the amount of text on powerpoint slides, and do put key words or phrases in bold
  • be prepared for questions – we always try to leave plenty of time for audience discussion
  • be prepared for press interest – journalists do not attend sessions but work from press releases – the Festival Press Office will ask you for key info about your talk in July
  • arrange for submission of your key message to AlphaGalileo and other suitable outlets via your own institution’s press office 2 weeks before the event – embargoed to date of the event, please

We hope you will enjoy the Festival and find the experience of public engagement rewarding. Thank you for your input!

Organisation and time frame

You will probably be invited to contribute to a particular event by a member of the History of Science Section Committee some time between September and April. Sessions are confirmed in March.

Before May you will be contacted by Programming at the BSA, asking you to submit details for the online and printed Festival programme. The Section may also ask you for further details to go on this website and in our printed leaflet – we can promote your books and other related activities here if you wish.

The Press Office will contact you in July to request information about your key message by mid-August so that they can plan coverage.


The BSA will reimburse standard rail fares or car mileage for speakers. You will be given an expenses claim form, plus a meal voucher when you register in the Speakers’ Lounge on arrival.

Your speakers’ badge entitles you to free entry to most of the other sessions at the Festival.

If staying overnight, you will need to pay for accommodation yourself (rooms on campus can usually be booked in advance through the Festival).


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