Beakernight turns Bridgeland into a giant laboratory

Calgarians are delighting in the aftermath of Beakerhead and its most anticipated event, Beakernight.

More than 50,000 people attended the fourth annual Beakernight Sept. 17 in  Bridgeland, up from last year’s attendance of 40,000.

“I got a call actually, saying the city had to do some closures because the traffic was so bad,” said Ellen Parker, owner and director of Ellen Parker PR.

The giant gallery-slash-laboratory illuminated the community of Bridgeland with interactive art and engineering displays, live performances, and music, as well as a “Beakerbar.”

Jasmine Palardy, director of programs and partnerships, said she overheard some people on the train say that it doesn’t look like Calgary.

“But, this is Calgary and it is exciting,” Palardy proclaimed.

Beakernight is an evening of science and engineering education, delivered in innovative and creative ways, and it was one of the many highlights of Beakerhead’s five-day reign over the city.

“Overall, throughout the year, Beakerhead does these wacky gigantic things for five days.

“But, what we are in our heart, is an education non-profit focused on ensuring that creativity and innovation in artistic thinking and experimentation are just a part of the culture and our education system, not only for K through 12 but for lifelong.”

Beakernight was home to many interactive science and art attractions, like the environmentally-friendly cow that crushes cans, invented by junior engineers.

Also on display was the Picasso Petri Dish exhibit, that local makers Iain George and Sean Booth created using benign bacteria strains instead of paint or ink to create works of art.

The finished “master-petris” were on display for all to see.

During the event, volunteers wandered around selling tiny finger lights to attendees, used for fundraising new initiatives and ideas for Beakerhead.

Overall, throughout the year, Beakerhead does these wacky gigantic things for five days. But, what we are in our heart is an education non-profit focused on ensuring that creativity and innovation in artistic thinking and experimentation are just a part of our culture and  education system – Jasmine Palardy

The newest idea was created in partnership with Dr. Christopher Emdin, an associate professor of mathematics, science, and technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and author of the book Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation.

Beakerhead, Dr. Emdin, and folks from various nations put their heads together to create a new initiative similar to the Science Genius Rap Battles, except that it is aimed at Aboriginal youth in Alberta, incorporating urban culture and the spoken word.

Palardy said this is one of many fundraising initiatives for Beakerhead, and that they are made to ensure Beakerhead can create content and partnerships not only locally, but internationally as well.


About Christina Freudenthaler 1 Article
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Christina Freudenthaler worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.