Head of Learning Research and Resources, Science Museum Group
I am passionate about learning in informal settings, having spent over 25 years devising new and innovative ways of communicating scientific and technological ideas and concepts to a wide range of audiences using interactive exhibits and innovative programming.
Currently I am Head of Learning Research and Resources at the Science Museum and work with the Museum Leadership, Development and Project teams to maximise Learning's input across the public offer ensuring that audience needs are addressed and learning programmes are properly integrated and delivered. I work with a range of academic partners, including King's College, London; University College, London and Sheffield Hallam, on large-scale learning projects like the Enterprising Science Programme.
I have played a pivotal role in some of the Science Museum's most exciting and innovative projects including the Wellcome Wing's 'In Future' exhibition (a multi-user computer game) and the development and delivery of the Dana Centre, known for its experimental adult programming based around contemporary science dialogue and debate.
I am a chemist by background and was the first School Teacher Fellow at the Royal Society of Chemistry, responsible for identifying, testing/evaluating and writing chemical problem-solving/egg race experiments for inclusion in the RSC's publication 'In Search of Solutions'. A long time ago I was a secondary science teacher.
What I bring
Experience of working with a range of academic partners on large-scale national projects and putting research into practice.
Sharing of information e.g. evaluation and research findings gained from the Enterprising Science Programme and our participatory work with new audiences.
Experience of training teachers, science communicators, scientists, museum educators and curators in informal science learning approaches and practices; that includes audience awareness training and applying the principles of Science Capital to shape learning programmes, live events and inform interpretation for exhibitions.
Science and Discovery Centres play a huge part in engaging and inspiring audiences with science. But how do we encourage more people to see the science centre/museum as a resource not just a destination? How do we effectively engage those who are hard-to-reach that isn't just another project? What influence can school, home and out-of-school experiences make on young people's science learning and how can we support more joined-up linkages? What of digital participation? How we measure our impact has proved elusive to date, but in our gut we know that what we do is right because we see it in the faces of the people who visit us and we hear it in their conversations. By gaining a better understanding of how we do it and developing a framework that supports science learning/engagement consistently and more effectively, we can benefit ALL - visitors, non-visitors, staff and the sector.
As a passionate and diverse membership that delivers on science engagement our strengths lie in:
Continuing to apply and share best practice
Continuing to be reflective about our practice and encouraging our staff to do the same
Scaling up what we know works and seeking unusual collaborations/partnerships
Looking to learnings from outside our sector
Attracting new and diverse audiences into our institutions - visitors and staff - and in doing so enriching everyone's experience
Coming up with the research questions we would like answered as a network and capturing that evidence across the network in order to gain new insights to feed into our practice.
Speaking loudly with one voice on the things that matter.