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Darwin Festival 2008

Next month in Shrewsbury, the annual Darwin Festival celebrates Darwin’s 199th birthday with a month of talks, workshops and art events.

Shrewsbury’s famous son

Launched in 2003, this will be the sixth annual Darwin Festival located in Shrewsbury, which was where Darwin was born, raised and attended school.

The festival organisers have secured the support of another major institution this year with the addition of the Royal Botanical Gardens Lecture. The talk will explore the relationship between Charles Darwin and the plant collector Joseph Hooker, who became Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1865.

Last year the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Biology sent speakers to Shrewsbury and will do so again for this year’s festival. Their talks will cover an exploration of the development of the eye in nature and a thought-provoking discussion about the choices we face in a genetic age.

The Darwin Memorial Lecture on 10 February will be delivered by locally-based academic, Professor John Gowlet. Called,The Dawn of the Imagination, his talk investigates the origins of our imagination.

Coastline of the future

At the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery there will be a major installation entitled Greenhouse Britain. The work explores the likely impact of rising sea levels as a consequence of global warming. The centrepiece is a dramatic multimedia projection onto a large relief of mainland Britain showing how our coastline could disappear and change in the future. Alongside it will be work by Shropshire artist, Sheila Jeavons, who has curated a local response called Greenhouse Shropshire.

Young Darwin fans are also catered for with half term workshops on the themes of evolution and garden wildlife.

Tickets for most events are £4 in advance and are available from the Music Hall Box Office, please call 01743 281 281. For full details see the Festival website.


‘There is grandeur in this view of life... from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.’ Charles Darwin