Seven science centres from across the UK have been awarded grants of up to £25,000 to run their proposal for a Bold Future. The successful proposals are summarised below with a brief explanation for why they were chosen. Armagh Observatory & Planetarium, Northern Ireland
Armagh Observatory & Planetarium will engage with the local community and children with learning difficulties through a community youth forum. The forum will advise on the SEN events they provide, as well as the accessibility of the centre. The forum will be given ownership, the ability to lead and make purposeful change and will be included in the design of a sensory map of the Planetarium and exhibitions space. This work will then be put into practice through engagement with special schools in Northern Ireland.
This project has been awarded a Bold Futures grant for its meaningful impact on the local SEN community, engaging with special schools that currently only make up a small percentage of the centre’s visitors. The proposal aligned with the aims of Bold Futures by demonstrating a strong community centred programme for an underrepresented audience in the region, which will continue beyond the project funding supporting the organisation’s values-led practice and future development in this area.
Cambridge Science Centre
Cambridge Science Centre is reappraising what being a ‘Science Centre’ means and co-creating a new vision that places its community’s needs at the heart of the organisation. With Bold Futures they will develop and work with a Youth Advisory Panel to re-examine their outputs to develop a 5-year strategy and will look at developing a Young Trustees programme. They will work with their local community partners to recruit young people who come from a diverse range of backgrounds and that are specifically underrepresented in the STEM sector.
This proposal demonstrated a well thought-out plan to incorporate local underrepresented communities in the transformation of the science centre. It showed a shift in power to their underrepresented audiences, incorporating them in every stage as they re-imagine the science centre, co-creating something that supports the needs of its audiences.
Centre for Alternative Technology, North Wales
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) aims to inspire, inform and engage new audiences with their mission to enable humanity to respond to the climate and biodiversity emergency. CAT has identified that young audiences feel anxious about climate change and want to know more about it, how it will affect them, how they can get involved in both mitigation and adaptation. To address this, CAT plans to collaborate with young people and other underrepresented audiences. Together they will co-create and pilot, a range of facilitated and self-led visioning experiences for visitors and learners that reflect all their voices. The project will learn from and build on the successful experience of CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain Hub in delivering climate change orientation and positive future visioning.
The proposal brings together communities from different areas, including groups from Hackney and Birmingham, to work with CAT's engagement and ZCB Hub staff to explore, co-create and positively imagine visions of the future. The proposal demonstrated capacity-building for their team and innovative thinking whilst building on prior learning.
Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
Dynamic Earth will embark on a programme to transform how they interact with underrepresented and underserved groups. Through in-depth consultation with six community organisations, the team will produce a fully-scoped design brief for a permanent, co-created and dedicated community space in the middle of their centre called Community Core, placing their underrepresented audiences at the heart of their charitable mission. Bold Futures will support the development phase of the Community Core project where the team will develop and deliver an 8-month in-depth community consultation programme.
The proposal demonstrates key elements of co-creation, and meaningful impact for both their underrepresented audiences and the organisation. The development will help them to embed a stronger community voice in the implementation of their strategy and programming. It builds on existing community partnerships that will provide a big impact and legacy for the organisation as they move from development to creation of the community core, with these partners at its heart.
Kielder Observatory, Northumberland
Kielder Observatory will design and pilot a STEM programme specifically for excluded children. To understand the needs of these children and their families Kielder will work with an expert partner IntegratED - a coalition of organisations working to reduce preventable exclusions and improve the quality of alternative provision. They will then test the concepts with a cohort of excluded children using the results to design a full programme for this audience.
The proposal demonstrated an excellent focus on a specific audience where a need for inspirational provision had been clearly identified, in a region that ranks highest for suspensions and permanent exclusions. It also identified clear and achievable goals with a strong element of collaboration and co-creation with an expert community partner, which will establish links to the under-served audience in the community.
Science Oxford will work with their community connectors who are made up of youth leaders, teachers and community leaders, to improve their engagement with the Wood Farm community. This community sits in the top 20% of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England and is situated within walking distance of the centre. After a period of consultation focussing on the needs and aspirations of the Wood Farm community, they will develop an inclusive and interactive programme for an area that lacks any community space (excluding the local primary school).
The proposal identified a clear need for the local community and showed meaningful impact from working together to develop a programme that would meet the needs of the group, deepening their relationships with the community leaders whilst using the physical assets of the centre, including the woodland, to engage and inspire the children and their families.
Wonderseekers, Winchester Science Centre
Bold Futures will be the first phase in a co-creation process, to understand the identified audiences’ fears and aspirations concerning climate change in order to work with them to build their agency and develop responsive, relevant science activities that will equip them with confidence and skills to make a difference to people and planet. The team will work with two groups; children from socio-economically deprived areas in the region and children whose lives are impacted by disability and/or impairment. The output of the project will be two short films, co-produced with the children to capture their voices, summarise their concerns and aspirations and act as a call to action for the Charity, community leaders, environmental groups and policy makers.
The proposal clearly identified who their chosen audiences were, and why, noting that parents had commented that opportunities for their children to participate in science related activities were few and far between. Workshops will be themed around co-creation and support the children to share their voices. There was evidence of a strong evaluation process with aims to measure the impact on the two audiences taking part in the workshops.