Space Explorers

Lead Research Organisation: Conwy Arts Trust
Department Name: Head office


This project will see the Conwy Arts Trust working in partnership with Dark Skies Wales Training, Rachel Rosen (artist), Professor Andy Newsam and Venue Cymru to achieve our aim or using the creative arts to further knowledge of astronomy and dark skies.

North Wales is lucky to have a large area which is a designated Dark Sky Reserve. Public awareness of this is generally low and we want to work with young people, and their families, to improve their understanding, excite them and inspire them to be ambassadors for dark skies.

Our key target groups will be young people (late primary and early secondary age pupils) and families. We hope to focus on communities and schools from the more deprived areas of the County. Some of these rank within the 10% most deprived in Wales on the Government's index of multiple deprivation.

In order to maximise our reach we will launch our project at the Venue Cymru 'take pART' arts and science festival that attracts 10,000 people annually. This will enable us to engage with large numbers of people to increase the local knowledge of the Dark Sky Reserve and of astronomy.

Following the launch, we will run two schools based programmes, one for a primary school and one for a secondary school with the aim of creating a cohort of young people who have a deeper understanding of astronomy than they would normally gain in school. We will run CPD twilight sessions at the schools in order to share our teaching resources and ensure that this project has legacy benefits within the schools, allowing teachers to teach further cohorts of young people. We will run several trips to show children and teachers STEM industry activities first-hand, inspiring further study and STEM career choices. At the end of the project we will run an event to celebrate the project and will ensure that this event includes the parents and families of the children. The children will use this event to share their knowledge with their audience with the aim of deepening understanding and appreciation of Dark Sky within the community.

In order to broaden our reach, we will also run a Space Club at Venue Cymru for primary school children at Venue Cymru.

Working in North Wales presents challenges for us in terms of gaining funding and young people having limited or no access to major institutions - cultural, artistic or scientific. A combination of having a remote geography and a post-industrial legacy contributes to this. Poverty and low social mobility in areas like the old seaside resorts along the coast mean people do not always benefit from the amazing landscape and wellbeing benefits nearby. We want to use this project to show our young people how exciting both their own back yard and the far universe is, we want to give them the tools to understand the sky above them, to cherish the history and stories told by their ancestors and to inspire them to protect the world and our famous dark skies for the next generation.

Our project will increase public awareness of dark skies in Wales and the UK, creating a cohort of young people able to share their knowledge and enthuse others. It will contribute to health and well-being, demonstrate a range of positive role models and inter-disciplinary approaches, as well as the promotion of STEM at the core of the project. It will raise the profile of the work being undertaken by the National Schools' Observatory and encourage use of their website and resources. The project will also generate teaching tools that we will share at the Venue Cymru Teachers Forum and more widely via social media and websites.

We would like to use this project as a pilot, with a view to expanding it into other schools throughout Wales and the UK.

Planned Impact

We are keen to ensure that this project provides legacy through providing post-project evidence of efficacy, conducting CPD with teachers, posting resources online and encouraging continued involvement in astronomy through use of resources such as the National Schools Observatory. We would like this project to continue in future years, being run in schools across Wales and the UK should funding be available.

Key ways in which we will disseminate information will be:

Social media posts, using established sites linked to all partners. To give an indication of reach, Venue Cymru alone has over 14,000 twitter followers; 6,800 followers on Facebook; over 2,000 followers on Instagram. The social media accounts of Dark Sky Wales, Conwy Arts Trust, the project schools and Conwy County Borough Council will also be used to disseminate information.

A dedicated Facebook events page will be set up

A project blog, with contributions from the session leaders, teachers, pupils and Space Club members. Links to the blog from social media sites and included in all marketing.

Short video snippets to be shared on You Tube and on social media

Offer to present about project at various educational, arts and science engagement events

Session plans to be shared with teachers at the Venue Cymru Teachers Forum and through a range of teaching networks

End of project report with associated press release (for local and industry press)


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Title For the after school club 
Description we created marketing material to distribute at an even where we get 10K people attending over a weekend at Venue Cymru to promote the afterschool club. due to covid the afterschool club didnt take place as intended. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Due to the pandemic it wasn't able to make a real impact 
Description A.N - John Moores University 
Organisation Liverpool John Moores University
Department Liverpool Telescope
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Andy is assisting in the educational aspect of the project along side Rachel Rosen to deliver the workshops
Collaborator Contribution several meetings have taken place, however the project hasnt started yet due to the Covid situation.
Impact Still taking place.
Start Year 2019
Description Online workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Due to the on going Covid situation the plans have been created to proceed with the project from the autumn. Extensive work has been undertaken to plan for the work in a covid safe way.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021