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PlaySTEM Workshop

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Three Corners Adventure Playground

Northampton Road

London

EC1R 0HU

United Kingdom

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Are you a STEM researcher? A Science Communicator? Or do you work with young people?

The image of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects does not do justice to the diversity of people involved. We need to engage all kinds of people in STEM subjects – both in and out of academic settings if we are to encourage the mix of ideas, skills and approaches that is needed to solve some of the biggest questions of our time.

A person’s first experience of science and experimentation is generally through play – ‘what will happen if I do this…? Oh that!’. But access to play in London is under threat as local authorities' funding is cut and play spaces are more reliant on charities and alternative funds to survive (https://www.londonplay.org.uk).

We have an opportunity to do something!

PlaySTEM is an innovative pilot project that aims to take STEM researchers out of the lab and into the local community to develop their confidence and skills for engaging with young audiences away from the ‘safety’ of four walls and the dreaded PowerPoint slides. We will offer a free one-day workshop at a local adventure playground for UCL STEM students and early career researchers to explore, create and play around with ideas for science-based activities around the theme of 'risk'.

Participants will have the chance to test run these activities with their friends and colleagues at an evening Dragon's Den style showcase event from 18:00 - 22:00 on the 16th April - with at least one chance to meet up in between to rehearse and get feedback on their activities from experienced science communicators. The showcase will be an informal event to raise funds for the playground that has generously hosted us so participants will be encouraged to invite friends, families and colleagues!

All you need is enthusiasm and an open mind...

It doesn't matter if you have little or no experience of public engagement activities - the format of the workshop is designed to develop your skills, bring new ideas and build your confidence in delivering activities that are fun, messy and interactive.

We hope to have a roughly even balance of STEM students, researchers, science communicators and youth workers. If you are unsure which category you fit into then please email Heather (h.fitzke@ucl.ac.uk) before you register. We particularly welcome female or non-binary applicants and those from an ethnic or other minorities underrepresented in STEM.


About the facilitators...

Heather Fitzke is a BBSRC LIDo PhD student, former anthropologist and playworker who persuaded UCL Culture (link) to give her some money to get a bunch of scientists out of the lab and into a massive playground. When she’s not scanning guts and collecting poo stories she’s thinking up ways to get young people into science and how to get science out into the community.

She belongs to the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (CABI) public engagement and education pipeline (PEEP). The PEEPs are a group of passionate and creative science communicators actively involved in research. We want to develop researcher’s skills and draw upon our science, media, creative and education-based networks to increase the impact of our public engagement and education activities and promote diversity in STEM. Heather leads the PEEPs Outreach activities, aiming to build science literacy and capital amongst individuals and communities not already engaged in science.

You can find her @hfitzke or h.fitzke [at] ucl.ac.uk



Dr Steve Cross works as a public engagement consultant, strategist and trainer. He is a geek comedian, presenter and producer, travelling across the UK helping all sorts of intellectual types share their passions. He founded Science Showoff, Museums Showoff and Bright Club, training clever people to be funny. He has worked with over 800 academics, museums professionals, software engineers, architects and lawyers to make comedy part of their lives.

Steve has performed at all the nerdiest places, like the Science Museum, the Cheltenham Science Festival, the Royal Institution, The Edinburgh Science Festival, Green Man, the Natural History Museum, the Manchester Science Festival, the British Science Festival and the Barbican. He’s gigged for conferences including the Society for Applied Microbiology, the International Congress of the History of Science, Technology & Medicine and the Science Communication Conference.

You can find his work and contact details on his professional website, or You can find his Facebook page here or on twitter.



Date and Time

Location

Three Corners Adventure Playground

Northampton Road

London

EC1R 0HU

United Kingdom

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