Space is the Place

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


This project aims to build upon Oxford Physics's work in engaging under-served communities. This will be achieved by developing strong and constructive strategic partnerships with local organisations that provide support and provision for the communities. We are thus contributing to the aims of the STFC Public Engagement Strategy by working with appropriate partners to reach low science capital audiences, and to deliver excellent STEM engagement that meets the needs of all parties involved.

Specifically, the goals of this project can be summarised as follows:

GOAL#1: Allow community groups to explore STFC-enabled research using methods of co-creation to spark interest, learning and engagement.
GOAL#2: Through public performance at the Carnival inspire the wider public to engage with STFC-enabled research and physics more broadly.
GOAL#3: Strengthen Oxford Physics' ties to local community members and organisations with a legacy of enhancing its long running Stargazing+ programme and encouraging lasting participation in STEM.
GOAL#4: Using the Carnival arts model of creative practice and performance, which unites a diverse range of artistic disciplines from different cultures, we will develop the skills and confidence of a broad range of participants from low income backgrounds.

The targeted communities are likely to have low levels of science capital (i.e. experiences in, knowledge of, and connections with science) and this project will aim to build science capital by allowing participants to share, question and express themselves in science. This project will also allow researchers and community groups to build relationships to show that science and technology are relevant, collaborative and rewarding.

Planned Impact

Successful ideas, processes and outcomes will be shared by Sian Tedaldi within the physics outreach community, primarily through the SEPnet and Ogden Outreach Officers' networks which will reach up to 30 universities nationwide. Lessons learnt about working with local community groups in Oxfordshire will also be shared within the Department and via the University's public engagement forums. There may also be an opportunity to present the project at National Astronomy Meeting and within articles for Communicating Astronomy With The Public and Astronomy & Geophysics.

The new outreach demonstrations developed within this project for the Science Inspiration Day and for the Science Zone at the Cowley Road Carnival will also be used within our ongoing Stargazing Oxford programme reaching over 1,000 people each year and for further community projects as part of Stargazing+. Some of the finished art structures may also be displayed at Stargazing Oxford 2020.


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