Bake your way to the future with British Council Ireland

British Council Ireland is delighted to bring ‘Baking in Space – Bake to the Future’ to Science Week Ireland 2020, working with Midlands, Limerick and Wexford Science Festivals, and inviting audiences from across Ireland and the UK to join in the fun. We are thrilled to be featuring this event as part of our Midlands Science Festival 2020 programme. With lots of live demonstrations, tasting and audience interaction, your curiosity will be whisked, stirred, and taken out of this world…

We caught up with Programme Manager, Aysylu Mutigullina to find out more..

Space champion, Dr. Niamh Shaw, Great British Bake-Off finalist, Andrew Smyth, along with special guests including Britain’s first Astronaut, Helen Sharman, will bring you on a journey from Earth to the Moon and back, with demos and bakes directly to your kitchens! Liz, tell us how people in the Midlands can get involved?

First of all, we would love to see everyone at our online show! The tickets are free for all, and there is a special gift for the first 100 early birds, kindly supported by Yakult. But there is more: together with The Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, Dublin we have developed a ‘Bake to the Future’ activity booklet for children and their adults. It’s full of interesting facts about the Earth and Space, games and DIY creations, as well as delicious ‘spacey’ recipes for the whole family to try out! And, of course, in this digital world, in the run-up to the shows we have prepared some fun online challenges for those in for a bit of a play, and a ‘Honeycomb Moon’ baking competition.  Entrants could win some great prizes and even feature in one of our shows! All winners will be revealed on our social media – make sure you follow #BakingInSpace to see them!

We have all been forced to adapt to new ways of living and doing things whilst in lockdown and as the Covid19 crisis continues. What kinds of related topics and experiments will be covered in the Baking in Space event?

The pandemic restrictions have reawakened a passion for baking in many of us (particularly for banana bread!) and we’ll maybe look at the psychology behind that. Covid-19 has also piqued people’s interest in science and raised awareness of the importance of scientific study and being curious about how our world works. In the show, we’ll explore our planet in lockdown, how we have learned to adapt and the parallels between living in space and living during COVID. Another topic which reflects the whole Science Week programme this year is our shared future, and we’ll look at how lessons learned from human space exploration can help shape our futures on Earth – sustainability, future foods etc.

Baking in Space is kindly supported by Yakult which is itself boldly going into space for experiments with astronauts on the International Space Station. As this is Science Week, can you tell us a bit about their mission to study the influence of Yakult’s bacteria on the human body?

Science is at the heart of Yakult, and we’re delighted that, as in previous years, the company is supporting our Baking in Space programme. Yakult was founded 85 years ago by the Japanese scientist Dr Shirota, who in the 1930s selected and cultivated L. casei Shirota, a unique strain of bacteria that is scientifically proven to reach the gut alive. Every little bottle of Yakult contains at least 20 billion L. casei Shirota. Now, Yakult is boldly going into space for experiments with astronauts on the International Space Station in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration agency (JAXA). Their mission is to study the influence of Yakult’s bacteria on the human body. In outer space, bacteria levels in the body are believed to change. This is a challenge which needs to be researched for extended future space travel. Yakult has developed a technology to freeze-dry their live bacteria and keep them in capsules at ordinary temperatures for as long as nine months. Crew members of the ISS are consuming these capsules of L.casei Shirota to provide the answers!

The British Council works with the brightest new talent in science communications and engaging the public directly with scientific subjects that affect our society, supporting best practice in STEM/STEAM education for the development of future scientists, and helping researchers in showcasing their work internationally. Why is it important for the British Council to get involved with events such as the Midlands Science Festival?

At the British Council we believe that, as the world grapples with the COVID-19 and other global challenges, the importance of clear and engaging communication about scientific subjects is more important than ever, and Science Week Ireland is a brilliant platform to do just that.  ‘Baking in Space – Bake to the Future’ is a fun and interactive show for the whole family to enjoy, but it does explore how science and space science in particular can help build a better future for our planet and society. We are so pleased to be able to work with Andrew Smyth and Dr Niamh Shaw again and bring the show to homes across Ireland. Andrew and Niamh’s unique blend of baking, engineering and space is for everyone who is even the tiniest bit curious about science.  We are especially delighted that Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut, will join the webcast this year and share her experience of life and food in space.

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