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Big Ideas By The Sea

‘Big Ideas By The Sea’  (BIBTS) is a festival planned for May 2021 in Scarborough, UK. This year’s theme is “Then, Now and the Future: Environment, Education & Employment”. The aim of this festival is to bring together a group of dynamic and interdisciplinary thinkers, to discuss and disseminate issues surrounding three big challenges (Environment, Education and Employment) in today’s world. More specifically, ‘What are the issues and opportunities for coastal communities within the UK and abroad over the next 25 years?


An Unconference

Often in traditional academic conferences, the most stimulating conversations take place during coffee breaks when attendees can interact with each other, discuss their research interests and expand their professional networks . A unique feature of BIBTS is its emphasis on the facilitation of these conversations and thus the ‘Unconventional conference’ – Unconference format. At BIBTS, the agenda, topics and workshops will be participant-driven and oriented, making this a valuable event for PhD and early career researchers from virtually any academic background. Three speakers have been invited to deliver keynote addresses around our theme to provoke and inspire the dissemination the topics.

  • Professor Dan Parsons: Director of Energy & Environment Institute, University of Hull.
  • Charlotte Bonner: National Head of Education for Sustainable Development. Education and Training Foundation.
  • Wave Crookes: Co-founder of SeaGrown Ltd, a sustainable business that harvests a 25-hectare seaweed farm off the coast of Scarborough.

Chaired by: Dr Magnus Johnson: Senior Lecturer in Environmental Marine Science, University of Hull.

Start times: 
12 pm Saturday 15th May, Scarborough Library.
  2 pm Sunday 16th May,  presentation of findings.

If selected, BIBTS is free to attend. We encourage PhD students / ECR to use their departmental outreach funds, or their research training grants to facilitate their attendance.

BIBTS can offer four bursaries of up to £100 to successful applicants travelling to Scarborough from further afield (more than 100 km). If selected, applicants will need to detail a cost breakdown (transport and accommodation) from their origin to ScarboroughThe cost breakdown and personal statement should be sent to before 23:59 on 5 March, 2021 to Magnus Johnson (M.Johnson@hull.ac.uk).


Output & Deliverables

It is suggested that everyone in the world are only separated by three degrees of contact through social media. The challenge to the attendees is to promote BIBTS globally via social media throughout the duration of the conference, and through traditional press after the event. Throughout the conference, discussion points and content will be documented. Ultimately, we hope to distill the ideas and outcomes of this unconference into three key messages that reflect the three core themes of BIBTS.

The key messages will be delivered academically (potential for joint publication/s) and also to non-academic audiences (such as coastal town councils). The format of the output is yet to be determined by the conference attendees – and BIBTS will continue to encourage and enable creativity, innovation and imagination. BIBTS hopes to report these outputs at the COP26 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) due to take place in Glasgow, November 2021.

For more information contact Dr Magnus Johnson at the University of Hull.
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