Festival of Ideas offers day of discovery for families

(Edmonton) November is not always a family-friendly month. What with soccer games, hockey practices, grocery shopping and the like, it’s hard to find something that the whole family can take part in.

But one event is giving Edmontonians reason to drop, cover and hold on: the University of Alberta’s Festival of Ideas 2012. This year’s festival brings truth-seeking, myth-busting and more to families as the family festival hits Enterprise Square Nov. 17.

But the festival is much more than fun and games. With the theme of “Shifting Tectonic Social Plates,” it’s an event that is sure to “move” attendees in many ways. Be it extracting DNA from a strawberry or taking fingerprints and looking for clues, there will be plenty of exciting experiments, demonstrations and games for kids aged 6 to 12.

For the older kids, it’s a chance for the teen crowd to find out “What’s Up With the U?” with fascinating presentations from U of A grad students. Imagine a world where your DNA influences your prescriptions. Or one where we are all able to build a sustainable future together.

Debra Pozega Osburn, chair of the Festival of Ideas, says that every generation has seen change; however, it is the school-aged children now that will see change happen on a far grander scale than their parents or grandparents did. The U of A’s knowledge, information and resources make it—and the festival—an ideal destination for kids seeking to understand the mysteries and challenges of our world.

“Our ability to engage young people in thinking about these big questions, even while they’re still in school, and to encourage them in those conversations is really going to make a big difference for us as our society continues to grow and change,” she said. “And today’s young people know science is fun. Wrestling with big issues is fun. They’re engaged and are asking the right questions. And our graduate students make it an engaging presentation.”

Challenging, thought-provoking and certainly entertaining, the 2012 Festival of Ideas is breaking new ground in Edmonton and helping shift perspectives. Come be part of the movement! For details, visit festivalofideas.ca.