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Ignite! Review of 2018

One last task for the 2018 diary, before it is packed into the archive, and is to extract the highlights for the Ignite! Review of the Year!

At the start of the year we were in Leicester warming up the audiences for George’s Marvellous Medicine at Curve Theatre.. with some rather mixed messages. The cast sang vigorously, ‘Don’t try this at home!’ that is, don’t mix chemicals and poison your granny – while we were demonstrating sciencey tricks that were very definitely designed for the kitchen and living room.

It set the tone for the year – do try this, science is for everyone, be curious, be creative and enjoy the art and science of discovery!

February was taken up with the most fantastic Festival of Science and Curiosity, proving that we had at last hit on a winning formula – to be the leading community engagement STEM festival in the UK; and establishing the pattern of work with schools, engagement across the City, and in local communities and neighbourhoods. The Real Science in Schools Symposium took over the Council House, 90 postcards from space were posted home, Schrodinger’s Caffè landed in Cobden Place.

Once we had recovered from the best FOSAC yet, we set about establishing the new company and charity with the wonderful Prof Susan Anderson as Chair. Dates for FOSAC 2019, Wednesday to Wednesday 13-20 February, and THIS year will be the best yet!

At the start of March we ran a day of workshops in Kent, and discovered that the first train out of Nottingham in the morning is at a terrifying 4:56.

And then one of us missed the Beast from the East by taking part in an Education Working Group meeting in Geneva for the European Citizen Science Association; just another example of things we will miss after 29 March 2019.

From April we were in the throws of delivering over 40 workshops for youth and play groups, Tiny Tots and families as part of the Curiosity programme. One of the highlights of the year was working with the Nottingham Refugee Families Forum and introducing them to the wildlife in the St Ann’s Allotments.

June was the full conference of the European Citizen Science Association with lots of inspiring projects and collaborations, and later Rick received his Churchill Fellowship medal.

July and August are the months for Family Fun Days – this year including Lincolnshire Children in Care. The summer holidays also saw us deliver the first Eco-week project sifting for plastic in the River Leen with Mo our inspirational intern from the University of Nottingham. And the results of our Attitudes to Science Survey came back from the wonderful Eva. We’ve been blessed with interns this year. By the end of August, Rick had been invited to be Writer in Residence in Koli in Finland, and Claire, was Scientist in Residence in the village school.

As the new academic year started we welcomed Tom and Jedd as PhD interns and suddenly the office felt a little overcrowded and busy...

Lab_13 Koli skyped in to Lab_13 Irchester – what larks! Fun Palaces came and went, Ada Lovelace Day was celebrated at BioCity and Hockley Hustle saw us shivering in Sneinton Market.

All the while, we planned for FOSAC, raised funds for FOSAC and had new meetings of the FOSAC Board.

And we kept the Ignite! commitment to the communities of Nottingham alive with plans for more activities with Youth and Play groups, Tiny Tots and Refugee Families. And we will live up to our new guiding Venn diagram by placing ourselves at the centre of Creativity, Curiosity and Community.

Next year – as ever we will apply for funds and deliver activities to make Nottingham the most Curious City in the World.

And if you would like to join us in this endeavour, you know where to find us. We exist in partnerships and you will be very welcome.

If you have been our partner this year we especially thank you for your shared vision and support. And thanks too to the Ignite! Board and dedicated staff team.

Happy festive season everyone and here’s to joy in 2019!

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