The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) is delighted to be partnering with the Science Museum Group (SMG) to deliver a national training programme for Science Centre professionals that focuses on how to use the concept of science capital in their day to day science engagement practice.
The concept of science capital, which has been led by the work of Professor Louise Archer and her teams from University College London and King’s College London, give us a valuable insight into why and how some people engage with STEM, and why some do not. It also helps us to frame and shape experiences which are designed to support STEM engagement.
We know people can experience and learn science in many different places - at school, at home and in their everyday life. Science Centres and museums play a key role in the STEM learning landscape by supporting and encouraging audiences to extend their science learning within and beyond our spaces. The informal science sector helps to broaden people’s perception of STEM and has the potential to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds with the opportunities and wonders of STEM.
The science capital research provides us with a good practice framework that can be used to help us to improve science participation in both individuals and society by designing environments and delivering programmes that are welcoming, inspiring and memorable for as wide an audience as possible. We know that no one institution, or experience can build a person’s science capital in isolation, and by working collaboratively together, through this and other initiatives, we can maximise the impact of all our STEM experiences.
ASDC and The Science Museum Group (SMG) sought 15 Science and Discovery Centres and Museums to partner with us for this exciting UK wide Programme.
We asked science centres to bring their exceptional talents in engaging communities, families and schools with science in fun and engaging ways as well as their experience working in communities and with underserved groups to the ‘Science Capital in Practice’ Programme. The 15 selected centres will be members of ASDC.
This programme follows the launch in October 2018 by the Science Museum Group of their Academy of science engagement. At the core of the Academy’s work is the concept of science capital. This programme has been made possible through the SMG Academy’s founding partner, BP who also funded The Enterprising Science Project which focused on much of the early academic work on science capital. The Science Museum Group Academy is bringing this latest research into practice at scale by working in partnership with ASDC.