Back to the Future - SPARK! returns to Lincoln

THOUSANDS of people are expected to flock to Lincoln Cathedral in May – for the return of the SPARK! Engineering Festival – an event which showcases the county’s rich heritage in engineering.

Taking place from 5th to 7th May, this will be the third SPARK! Festival and this year takes the theme of ‘Back to the Future’ – as organisers prepare to celebrate Lincolnshire’s pioneering excellence in engineering and its lead in engineering innovation now and in the future. 

Organised by local companies and the City of Lincoln Council, SPARK! aims to inspire and ignite interest in engineering among the young looking to their future career as well as further a sense of pride within the sector, which includes world beating businesses in the county, as well as the wider community.

Paul Taylor, chief advisor to Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Ltd and chairman of the festival, said: “We are delighted to bring this festival to Lincoln for a third time. In 2015, SPARK! attracted more than 8,000 engineers, teachers, students and business people – and this year, we hope to increase the number of visitors to what is now a stand out event on the regional calendar.

“Lincolnshire has world-leading engineering businesses, teachers, researchers and technologists who are applying their knowledge and skills to innovate design, create and supply the best engineering people, services and products worldwide.

“This festival is about increasing awareness of that engineering ingenuity and innovation in Lincoln and the surrounding area that has worldwide impact. We also want to inform the public in the field of engineering, in particular encouraging young people to choose engineering as a field of study.”

The free event will showcase cutting-edge developments in maths, science and technology that are happening across the county right now.

Visitors will see a number of impressive exhibits and interactive displays, including an amazing 50ft timeline covering the evolution of engineering in Lincolnshire. They will also meet representatives from local firms and take part in a variety of hands-on activities.

Paul added: "SPARK! is held at Lincoln Cathedral as it is the county’s leading example of expert engineering itself. While it is a building which exemplifies Lincolnshire’s rich engineering heritage, it will house so much of modern techniques for this festival.

“We developed SPARK! to help people learn more about the innovation taking place around the city. SPARK! aims to inspire people to take an interest in engineering - encouraging a career in the sector.

“It’s so important to hook young people in to engineering – even before secondary school -  so they can see a purpose to sciences and maths and motivation can grow before options have to be taken.

“We also want to engage the community – to show people what goes on behind factory doors on their doorstep. We have world class engineering in Lincoln and our products go all over the world – and consequently we have great careers here. We have an exciting future for Lincolnshire and Spark is about bringing that success to the fore.”

SPARK! Engineering Festival is organised by a collaboration of local organisations, businesses and education establishments, coordinated by the City of Lincoln Council and supported by The Education Business Partnership, Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Optima Design, and PR and digital firm Cartwright Communications. 

The event is also sponsored by GLLEP, Investors in Lincoln, Streets Chartered Accountants and LEAP.  Exhibitors include a range of engineering businesses such as Siemens, James Dawson, Dynex, Micrometric, NMB Minebea and many more.