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Ignite! Summer Review

It's been an incredibly busy summer here at Ignite!, and how we’ve all had a bit off time of to relax and unwind, it’s time for an update on what we’ve been up to.

Curiosity Project

The main project we’ve been working on all year has been the Curiosity project, which has been funded by Wellcome/Children in Need and on which we’ve collaborated with the Renewal Trust. Since April we’ve been working with Youth Clubs, Play Groups and Tiny Tots, delivering a session once a week for six weeks. We’ve covered plant pathology, bug hotels, plasticine caterpillars, real caterpillars, microscopes and many many different types of rockets. The aim of these sessions has been to stimulate young people’s curiosity and to encourage them to be confident in expressing their questions and wonderings about the world around them.

But the end of the summer term didn’t mean the end of this project and we lined up work with the Refugee Forum and the Brendon Lawrence Sports Centre. We ran a week-long project with families from the Refugee Forum at the St Ann’s Allotments, where we had access to our own space full of plums, apples, blackberries, wasps, spiders and ants. We also did two afternoons a week for three weeks with young people at the Brendon Lawrence Summer Camp, challenging them to make the tallest constructions and the most accurate marble runs.

Throughout the Curiosity project, we’ve experimented with varying formats, young people, youth leaders, ages, areas of Nottingham and scientific topics and we’ll be feeding all of that into the evaluation and further bids.


Our final project of the summer was a week-long study of the story of plastic in the River Leen, funded by the UK Science Festival Network and UK Research and Innovation. Based at the Vine Centre in Hyson Green, we worked with families from the Refugee Forum and the home educators network, as well as scientists from the University of Nottingham and Wollaton Hall, to look at the ecology of the river. We found that while the river is clean – the presence of a mayfly larva indicated this – there is an extraordinary amount of plastic waste, both macro and micro, the impact of which is not currently known. The young people then worked with animator Trevor Woolery to tell the story of their discoveries, which will be uploaded to our website soon. We’re hoping to continue to work 1) with the young people who participated 2) on the topic of local ecology and 3) with our fantastic intern Mo Langmuir whose hard work and expertise on this project was invaluable.

Science Busking

We can’t forget all the science busking we’ve done over the course of the summer (mostly by Rick and a number of enthusiastic volunteers). The confuserphones were out at the Bulwell Arts Festival, the Lord Mayor’s Celebration Event, the Children’s University Graduation, Bluecoat Beechdale Science Fair, the Lincolnshire Children in Care event, the Renewal Trust Community Fun Day to name but a few.

Public Attitudes to Science Survey

Finally, our intern Eva Hook conducted the first baseline study of people in Nottingham’s attitudes to science. Eva set about on her bike interviewing children and adults across Nottingham and did a great job of analyzing the data into some key findings, which we’ll continue to monitor in future years to measure our impact. We’ll be putting together a separate blog about this, so keep your eyes peeled.

What's Next?

We're looking forward to getting started with planing the Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity 2019, the final year of the CHEMWORKS project, the establishment of 5 new Lab_13s in Nottingham North, an Ada Lovelace Day careers event and much more!

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