Throughout last year we've been keeping an eye out for those entries that really sparkle with a bit of extra magic - the images that catch the eye, the titles and descriptions that make you want to know more. You could have the best event in the world but for people to come to that event, to know it is happening, the way you present it matters - particularly in the crowded marketplace of our event directory of thousands! Here are our favourites by category - plus, this year there are three extra special awards for those that exceeded categorisation!
Media knock outs
These events were the ones most featured in press pitches. Key to their success: details were submitted to us early (including an image!) and their fun titles and clear descriptions caught the team's, and later the media’s attention.
A picture's worth 1,000 words... and they're the first thing people tend to look at on a page. So with thousands of listings on our event directory, they make all the difference. Here are the most liked images from our social media streams last year…
Blackpool’s Grand Theatre (Left) – The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, Lancashire (© Blackpool Grand Theatre)
10 Women in 10 Days: Hilda Hewlett (Right) – Women’s Engineering Society (©WikiCommons)
What’s in a name? A lot! After an image, it’s the first thing to catch someone’s eye when looking through event listings. Here are some that caught the team’s imagination last year…
- Long Lost Loos – a wee walk from Walkley (Walkley Carnegie Library, Sheffield, South Yorkshire): 'A tour past the former public toilets between Walkley and the City Centre.'
- Back to Bach! (Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester, Leicestershire): 'An evening's entertainment of music and anecdotes from the organ bench.'
- Quebec House & What’s Bugging the Conservator? (National Trust, Westerham, Kent): 'Explore life in the 1730s and then meet the specialists defending the house from bugs today!'
- Wheels on Fire (All Good Stuff at Butcher Works, Sheffield, South Yorkshire): 'See how the wheel is fundamental to so many traditional crafts.'
- Big Wheels Keep on Turning (Castle Point Transport Museum Society, Canvey island, Essex): 'Wheels! One of the greatest inventions. We can’t do without them. We have them on buses, bikes, trolleys, engines.'
The first few lines of an entry can make a world of difference. Questions tease us, descriptions entice us, or simply make us laugh! Here are some that had us smiling and made us want to know more..
Fancies, Feelers and Fents (Sunny Bank Mill, Leeds, West Yorkshire): ‘What did a Twaddell Measure, measure? Why might a mender wear goggles? How does a Crockmeter work? Discover the intriguing inventions, large and small, involved in the making of Woodhouse's fine worsted cloth and in the running of Sunny Bank Mills.’
Last year’s theme was a lot of fun and we learnt quite a bit! Here’s just a sample of some of the inspiring ideas and stories people shared with us…
- Gadget Trail (Shoreham Society, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex): 'Shoreham-by-Sea has a wealth of history when it comes to innovation. We thought it would be fun to show people some of the astounding things that can be found in our own homes and show them off to the community. Venues across Shoreham-by-Sea will be displaying gadgets in their windows. A few weeks beforehand a detail of a gadget will be posted regularly on local Facebook sites inviting people to guess the gadget and where they can go to find out what the gadget is.' (We love how this one got the community involved and explored everyday wonders)
- From Fingers to Forks (Flintham Museum, Nottinghamshire): 'Discover how inventions and innovations over the centuries have changed the food we eat, the way we eat it, and how we shop. We are so busy buying food, cooking and eating it that we often don't realise how our diets and shopping habits have changed over the centuries. We've developed from hunter gatherers to growing crops as well as taming and rearing animals. We've experimented with different foods, with cooking methods and buying patterns until, with the click of a button, cooked food arrives at our doorsteps ready to eat. Visit us to see if you can match a set of cards showing food, eating or shopping innovations onto a timeline through the centuries. You may be surprised when the answers are revealed.' (Last year’s theme was Edible England and we loved Flintham Museum's entry for that, but this year they get a shout out for how they have evolved their festival entry to reflect the new theme)
- Meet Our Mad Scientists (Warrington Museum, Cheshire): 'Come and meet some Mad Scientists from Community Objectives, who will take you through how to earn your 'Astounding Inventor' badge.'
- Astounding Inventions at Portland Museum (Portland Museum Trust, Dorset): 'A showcase and talk about an astounding artefact found on a shipwreck.'
The all rounder
Organisation with the most nominations
University of Cambridge
The University has been coordinating festival events in the city for years and always come up with interesting new offers. They register their events with great titles and snappy descriptions so had the most nominations across the board in our writing categories this year, with gems like: ‘From Darwin to Dodos: Guided tour of the Museum of Zoology’ + ‘Dare-devils, Boffins and Cowboys: WWII Technology in your lives today’.
Recurring festival favourite
Find out more
- Festival Review 2022
- 5 Astounding Inventions - Discover more stories from 2022's theme with our wrap up post
- Got a story/place to share? - Find out how you can join our festival community
- Read more on the blog - Hear more from the team and friends on our blog
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