Educational charity, We The Curious, has received a £15,000 grant from the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), as part of Project Inspire: Digital Engagement and Innovation Programme. This project is in collaboration with the Inspiring Science Fund, a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.
The grant will go towards creating three paid research residencies for emerging young creatives from a diverse range of backgrounds, and a shorter design programme for thirty local young people to co-create emotionally engaging, relevant online content with We The Curious, based on the theme of climate action.
Their projects will be completed ahead of November; the results of their work will coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26 which is due to be held in Glasgow in November), and will be shared with We The Curious audiences online, in the venue and on the Big Screen. It will make up part of a COP26-inspired programme of activities and events, all themed around ‘A Better World Is Possible’ - exploring major climate themes and how people can work together to co-create solutions for the future.
In 2019, We The Curious became the first science centre in the world to declare a climate emergency, with a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030. As well as reducing energy as a venue, We The Curious has a role to increase public understanding of science and explore issues that affect people’s lives.
Building on the existing programmes and strategic community partnerships that We The Curious already hold, Project Inspire aims to bring together current STEM research together with young creatives to create inspiring, relevant content about climate action, a topic which many young people are passionate about, according to research conducted by the United Nations*.
The residents will be supported by producers from We The Curious, STEM professionals, young activists, industry specialists and community partners to co-design online content. They’ll also collaborate with thirty young people to identify climate-crisis themes in a series of rapid prototyping workshops, and will use some of the 10,000 curious questions gathered from the city of Bristol by We The Curious over the past 3 years, as inspiration for the workshops.
It is hoped that through this programme, the residents involved will be able to make connections with current scientific research, universities, industry and people in the city to develop their networks and practice. Their work will also be disseminated amongst the national and international science centre sector.
Nicole Briggs, Head of Audience for We The Curious said:
“We’re really excited to see what can be produced by bringing current STEM research and community partners together with a group of young creatives to explore a subject which, young people have told the world time and time again they are passionate about.
Our research with young people has shown us that meeting and working with different professionals can be a transformational experience, so we’re delighted that we can support emerging talent within the city in this way.
This has been a challenging year for us as a charity, it’s fantastic that with the support of ASDC and Wellcome Trust we are able to deliver this project and support young people entering a difficult creative jobs market. By working with the residencies, we are hoping to discover new ways to explore people’s curiosity, foster connections and engage with everyday science, to create positive social change.”
Collaboration and diverse participation is one of the key pledges of the guiding Manifesto for We The Curious, which has been in place since 2017; it seeks to play a part in wider positive social change, by embedding new ways of working and integrating a multi-disciplinary approach, and reflecting issues which audiences are passionate about.
We The Curious is currently closed due to the pandemic, but hopes to open in May once restrictions lift – it will reopen with the launch of a brand new experience, Project What If. The Project Inspire residences will start in late spring.
About Project Inspire
Projects from eight UK Science and Discovery Centres have been selected to receive grants of £15,000 to develop new and creative digital ways to engage and involve under-served and under-represented communities and audiences with STEM.
The selected Science Centres were chosen from a host of applicants from across the UK to join this one-year national Digital Innovation and Engagement Programme, which includes Science Centres being given training and support through a series of masterclasses and ideation sessions, bringing in the latest knowledge and expertise, as well as the funding of £15,000 to develop and deliver their individually co-created digital innovation projects with their communities.
The eight selected Science Centres are:
- Glasgow Science Centre
- Dundee Science Centre
- Kielder Observatory on the English – Scottish Border
- Techniquest in Cardiff
- The National Space Centre in Leicester
- Science Oxford
- We the Curious in Bristol
- Winchester Science Centre
Proposals from these eight Science Centres were selected for the Digital Engagement and Innovation Programme because their projects demonstrated plans and ambition for inspirational digital practice that would change the way they involve under-served and under-represented communities and audiences with STEM.
Project Inspire is a one-year national Digital Engagement and Leadership Programme for UK Science Centres, led by ASDC. The project has been developed by ASDC following consultation with the sector and has two strands which together will support selected Science Centres to adapt and grow during this time of change, and help them to innovate with their communities.
The two Project Inspire strands are:
- The Digital Engagement and Innovation Programme for Science and Discovery Centres to develop new and creative digital ways to engage and involve under-served communities and audiences with STEM.
- The ASDC Leadership Programme to nurture and support emerging Science Centre talent to become the inclusive and dynamic leaders of the future. Details will be launched in Spring 2021.
Project Inspire is a collaboration with the Inspiring Science Fund, a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.