Photo courtesy of the Bay Area Science Festival, 2017.
The Science Festival Alliance (SFA) fosters a professional community dedicated to cultivating a healthy relationship between science and society through festivals and other public events.
We are a collaborative network of member institutions, initiatives, and individuals committed to sharing resources and working with a diverse group of stakeholders to spark curiosity, encourage experimentation, and engage our communities.
We founded the SFA in 2009 to connect the handful of independent science festivals that existed in the United States at the time. Since then, more than 75 festivals across the US and Canada have become SFA members. Instead of paying dues, SFA members volunteer time and resources in support of our shared goals.
The SFA is coordinated by staff at the MIT Museum.
What Is a Science Festival?
What excites us about the science festival format is how dynamic it is. While SFA staff are open to conversations with any prospective festival organizer or partner, there are some elements that we think are absolutely key. A science festival should:
Rally many collaborators and stakeholders. Festivals are remarkable opportunities to build and strengthen community support for experimentation, discovery, and the STEM fields.
Directly involve STEM practitioners. Festivals provide a unique venue for people who study or work in STEM to engage directly with general audiences and share their enthusiasm as well as their expertise.
Be as inclusive as possible. This means involving community stakeholders in planning, outreach, and execution; reducing financial barriers to participation whenever possible; and offering a broad range of programming.
Be something special. Whether festivals happen over an afternoon, a weekend, or a full week, we think it’s important that they have the spirit of a special event.