Join us on this journey of discovery as we reflect on another incredible year of British Science Week
From interactive exhibitions and workshops to engaging talks and panel discussions, this annual celebration of science and STEM, serves as a vital reminder of the incredible contributions that science can make to our world. This week is more than just a chance to showcase the latest research and innovations in STEM – it’s also an opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists, and to promote scientific literacy and understanding among the wider public. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what we did for British Science Week, explore some of the key themes and ideas that emerged, and consider what this event means for the future of STEM education and outreach in the UK.
Our celebration began with a simple post that set the tone for the rest of the week: fun
With fun at the heart of everything we did this week, we filled every student’s week to the brim with buzzing events that everyone could access online, highlighting local museums up and down the country, and giving a platform to students studying STEM subjects at University. For us, this week did not serve only for us to educate, but also to inspire individuals of all ages and backgrounds. We did this by providing our students with an extensive range of resources and equipping them with vital knowledge:
- ‘STEM Socials’ brought together STEM professionals and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. During these talks, our young people had the opportunity to hear from experts across a plethora of STEM fields and learn about the work that they do.
- Local museums and galleries were featured to encourage visits to scientific facilities that included everything from British Science Week lectures and workshops to interactive demonstrations and exhibitions. For instance, the National Space Centre inspired visitors to build their own rockets out of recycled materials. In another gallery, a scientist conducted a live experiment, demonstrating the power of static electricity as a light bulb lights up in their hand.
- Online events and opportunities were shared that highlighted the most fascinating and engaging aspects of science. From physics to biology, and everything in between, there was something for everyone to discover. For instance, we shared the wonders of the Cherenkov Telescope, and our students marvelled at the intricate system that supports 100 telescopes to capture the hypnotic movement of stars among the unexplored universe. This was an incredible opportunity for our young people to gain insights into under-represented areas in STEM, and was widely attended by our students.
We want to be clear: we couldn’t have done this alone
It is going to be increasingly essential for us to work with others in the industry to reach every disadvantage young person, and reach our goal to deliver systemic change in social mobility. This is precisely why the decision to collaborate with another NPO was so crucial in our celebration for this year’s British Science Week. By pooling our respective resources, expertise, and networks, we were able to create a richer, more dynamic celebration, one that resonated with a wider audience and had the greatest impact.
Discussions for a collaboration began last August, and yielded a remarkable two-minute video that was delivered to our A-Level students on results day. The response from our students, and others receiving their results up and down the country was substantial and represented a reflection point for us. Through this initial collaboration, we had touched the lives of people beyond our programme that were previously unaware of the work we do. This is incredibly important to us as we seek to grow and expand to reach more young people; it is no surprise that we were eager to work with this Collective again.
In comes the Creative Tuition Collective…
We knew that for our collaboration to be successful, it was essential to find common purpose and meaning. We share a similar mission of providing educational opportunities to underprivileged students. The work we do aims to inspire and support students all from low-income backgrounds, from 16 years-old, all the way to PhD students, and actually get these students into full-time work and STEM careers. The Creative Tuition Collective (CTC) offers free one-to-one tuition, extracurricular workshops and mentorship services to underprivileged students that are slightly younger than our own students. They also provide mental health support to school pupils from marginalised communities in the Bristol and South West area and encourage progressive discussion in a safe space for all.
As you can see, the work we do differs in several significant ways. For instance, the age range we work with is older and the way in which we approach helping our students into STEM is different. But we share one common goal: improving social mobility for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. By working together, we reached a wider audience and encourage more students to participate in the events and local exhibitions open during British Science Week. We were able to spread the word about our programmes to a younger audience that may join us in the future.
The start of something special
We want to thank CTC for sharing these incredible ‘STEM socials,’ featuring STEM professionals and students, with our students. This helped expose our students to new areas of STEM, particularly technology and engineering related fields that are largely unknown and underrepresented. We will continue working with inspiring organisations like CTC, that aim to tackle the issue of social mobility. Through these collaborations, it will help us influence policymakers to put social mobility and STEM diversity high on the agenda to erase the structural barriers to progression for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.