Associated with Hortus botanicus Leiden

Science cafés and themed weekends in Leiden

In 2018, Hortus botanicus Leiden will run four more science cafés, each coinciding with a themed weekend to encourage people to explore our BigPicnic exhibition. 

In 2016 and 2017 Hortus botanicus Leiden organized five BigPicnic science café’s. They were successful but very hectic. Since our exhibition will be launched on 19th April we have decided to take the opportunity this provides to interact with our audiences. So, we will be running four science cafes on complementary, themed weekends whilst the exhibition is open.  

The first one will be held on 20th April.  The focus of this weekend will be the Solanacea family - tomatoes, aubergines, chili peppers, etc. and on the insects pollinating them. 

Bumble bee

Photo credit: Stefanie Uit den Boogerd

Visitors will enter into a large glass hall. Huge photographs of fruit and vegetables hanging from the ceiling; slowly moving in breeze will greet them. There will be stands for them to visit and lectures to attend. They will also have the opportunity to do a tour in the garden with the new BigPicnic map. This was co-created with science communication students and involves posing dilemmas to help visitors to consider differing possibilities and opinions related to food and food production.

And, of course, visitors will be able to visit the BigPicnic exhibition, where staff and volunteers will be waiting to explain, discuss and observe their interactions – these discussions will be recorded and the information gathered used to develop the BigPicnic recommendations for Responsible Research and Innovation in food security. A large red letterbox is also waiting for notes, children's drawings etc. from anyone who wants to share an idea with the EU on food security.

Observer at a science cafe at Hortus botanicus Leiden

Student Marissa is observing visitors during one of last year's science cafés. Photo credit: Stefanie Uit den Boogerd

In the exhibition quotes from last year’s science cafes have been integrated, to help start the conversation and to show that we take note from what is said.