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Cambridge BRAINFest 2017 - report, pictures, evaluation and video

Cambridge BRAINFest 2017 took place from Friday to Sunday (June 23-25), and was a free public festival of brain science, filled with lectures, discussions and exhibits for visitors.

Throughout the weekend, the Cambridge Corn Exchange was transformed into an interactive tour of the brain, with themes including ‘Development’, ‘Brain & Body’, ‘Pain & Pleasure’, Perception & Imagination’ and ‘Learning & Forgetting’ spanning research from molecules to man. Visitors, adults and children alike, got the opportunity to take part in experiments across 30 different interactive exhibits and even build their own brain. A ‘Secret Cinema’ showed a series of films illustrating how Cambridge researchers are tackling conditions such as dementia and OCD. Meanwhile, speakers at Café Scientifique explored the breadth of brain science from body clocks and brain networks to the weird and wonderful world of the naked mole-rat (audio versions of all the Café Scientifique talks will be available shortly).

On Friday, June 23, at the Variety Opening Night, audiences at the Babbage Lecture Theatre heard from BBC Horizon presenter Dr Giles Yeo about why we are all getting fatter, from Professor Usha Goswami about how dyslexic brains may be in tune but out of time and from Professor Roger Barker on how we might fix a broken brain (video will be available online soon).

The following night at ‘BRAINS and Mental Health’, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, chaired a panel discussion with mental health experts from the University of Cambridge and from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) (video will be available online soon).

For those wishing to take advantage of the sights around Cambridge, a historical self-guided ‘Neurotrail’ led explorers around the places, people, and discoveries that have put our city at the heart of our understanding of the brain. Special pop up exhibitions were held in the Whipple Museum, Christ’s College Library and the University Library.  

The foyer of the Corn Exchange was transformed by BRAINArt, an exhibition of brain-inspired art by local school children. In the lead up to Cambridge BRAINFest, Dr Glynn visited 1,400 pupils, talked about the brain and enthused her audiences about the body’s most complex organ

Thank you! 

Thank you sincerely for to all of those involved in Cambridge BRAINFest. We had approximately 3000 visitors (~2,500 visitors visited the Cambridge Corn Exchange) over the weekend and we received some very positive feedback. We are currently analysing the feedback and will report on it later. The whole of Cambridge Neuroscience worked together to produce a public-facing festival that covered the full depth and breadth of brain science, and you can be very proud of yourselves. We had >170 scientists involved!

A big thank you also to our sponsors and partners, volunteers, the schools involved in BRAINArt, the film contributors at Brains & Mental Health, AVMG (especially Adrian Newman), University of Cambridge Communications Office (Craig Brierley, Johnny Settle and Nick Saffell), the staff at the Babbage Lecture theatre, the staff at the Department of Pharmacology, StillVision Photography, Cambridge Live and Hawthorn (especially James Hunter).

Photography and Film

Please see the Cambridge Neuroscience Flickr account for images from Cambridge BRAINFest ( - there are 4 different albums) and you can watch a video of highlights here. Please let me know if you would like high resolution versions of any of the images (or in fact from any of the events that we have uploaded to Flickr) – please feel free to embed and credit the video. There will be more non official photos added in time – please let me know if you would like any of your photos added here.

Please do remember to tag #CambridgeBRAINFest and @CamNeuro if using any of these images on social media. They are publically visible so please feel free to share the album but note that they are “All rights reserved”. If any of you would like to use them, please just let us know. All attendees were notified of photography taking place during Cambridge BRAINFest. 

Press Coverage

In case you missed it, there was coverage in the Cambridge News

Photo gallery - Cambridge News

Video coverage and report - Cambridge News

BPS - Report #1

BPS - Report #2

Report in print version of Cambridge Independent (including front page photo!) on June 28.

Build up - Cambridge News

Business Weekly

University of Cambridge - Press release #1

University of Cambridge - Press release #2

Report in print version of Cambridge Independent (2 page spread) on June 21.

Check out the #CambridgeBRAINFest for the majority of tweets associated with the event.


What you think is very important to us: Visitors rated BRAINFest 4.8/5 and >90% of the neuroscientists that took part rated BRAINFest either very good or excellent. 

Read the visitor evaluation here.

Thank you!

Dervila Glynn and Angela Roberts



Posted on 18/07/2017

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