Sept. 21, 2022

Why you shouldn’t miss Beakerhead 2022, back after a 2-year hiatus

Three-day citywide spectacle marries art and science
A pilot in a red flight suit drives a mech robot down Calgary's Stephen Ave
Beakerhead 2013 on Stephen Ave in downtown Calgary. Riley Brandt

An Enchanted Forest installation? Youths re-engineering household items? Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek channelling her inner Sigourney Weaver at the controls of a jumbo-sized all-terrain mech suit?

Where else will you find such a mix but at Calgary’s celebration of art, science and engineering as Beakerhead returns with three days of its most exciting programming after two years of pandemic disruptions.

Beakerhead began nearly 10 years ago at the University of Calgary under the Schulich School of Engineering. UCalgary continues to be a proud sponsor of the event, which has grown to be an annual city-wide spectacle showcasing jaw-dropping installations, art and technological feats.

Since 2013, UCalgary students, faculty and staff have been active Beakerhead participants, with faculties such as arts, kinesiology, science and Schulich showcasing various art and research.

Beakerhead 2022 begins on Sept. 23 when guests can enjoy an evening at Telus Spark with food, drinks, art and the launch of Beakerhead’s newest program, Hack the House. Overseen by a panel of judges, in this new challenge for youth ages 14 and up, teams will “hack” a piece of used household furniture and turn it into a sustainably powered machine.

The evening will also include PechaKucha Night, where storytellers are challenged to tell their tales in only 20 seconds, as 20 slides play automatically behind them.   

From Sept. 24 to 25, Beakerhead continues the party at Century Gardens downtown at 8th Avenue and 8th Street S.W. — right across from UCalgary’s downtown campus — which will be transformed into an “enchanted forest” filled with grand-scale art installations and programming for all ages.

The highlight of the entire festival may well be the Calgary debut of a giant, powered all-terrain mech suit designed by Exosapien Technologies — a 4,000-kilogram, 200-horsepower behemoth. Calgary mayor and UCalgary alumna Dr. Jyoti Gondek, MA’03, PhD’13, will pilot the suit.

Beakerhead is a free event that runs from Sept. 23 to 25. Be inspired by the art, science and technology, showcased in your own backyard. Visit the full Beakerhead program.