Success for ScienceX at Manchester Central Library

Mon, 08 Nov 2021 11:50:00 GMT

ScienceX, the pop-up festival organised by the Faculty of Science and Engineering's Social Responsibility team, returned on 23 & 25 October. This free weekend-long event is the flagship off-campus public engagement event for the Faculty. It aims to showcase what science and engineering is really all about and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, in particular those who are part of traditionally hard-to-reach groups who may have never considered a future in these areas.

This year’s event had a new home at Manchester Central Library and a new focus on climate change, sustainability and the environment. Visitors took part in 13 interactive activities on all things green, which were delivered by over 100 staff and student volunteers. Activities included making DNA bracelets and paper, building electric car motors, designing plants to survive in different environments and learning about climate-friendly diets.

Over 5,000 people visited ScienceX demonstrating the popularity of ScienceX and the enthusiasm of families to take part in enriching activities post-lockdown.

Feedback from visitors has been overwhelmingly positive, with one parent saying: “My four year-old really enjoyed the activities – he didn’t want to leave. He loved all the science activities. This event teaches us what we can do to help the climate and protect the Earth”.

Volunteers also commented on the quality of engagement with visitors, including very young children, which highlights the growing interest in sustainability amongst families in Greater Manchester. This was clear in the climate pledges made by visitors, who committed to making a change to benefit the environment.

Event organisers and volunteers tried to honour the green theme as far as possible:

  • Volunteers wore organic cotton ScienceX t-shirts which were reused from previous events.
  • Volunteers were encouraged to travel by public transport or car-share where possible.
  • Event items were borrowed from other teams at the University rather than buying new.
  • Limited items were printed, using only recycled paper when printing was required.
  • Volunteers were asked to bring refillable drinks bottles and reusable coffee cups.
  • Packaging from the snacks provided for volunteers was separated for recycling, with crisp packets and cereal bar wrappers being taken to the soft plastic recycling scheme at the Co-Op on campus.

In addition to the face-to-face event at Manchester Central Library, a new ScienceX website was also developed to host online activities. Young people and families could find out more about advanced materials, volcanoes, dinosaurs, energy and fast fashion through videos, worksheets and podcasts. These activities were promoted to visitors who wanted to carry on their learning at home but are also available to anyone who couldn’t attend.

Read more on the Science and Engineering Hub.