This week, the Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) team will be at the Green Zone at the COP26 summit as guests of the Glasgow Science Centre (GSC).
Senior researchers Kevin Lowden, Stuart Hall and Deja Lusk at the NSEE team and the PK Partnership are working with GSC to evaluate the centre’s efforts to empower the people of Glasgow to make positive changes in their lives and communities and to value science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Glasgow Science Centre’s CONNECT programme aims to transform the science centre into an inspiring community hub and lifelong learning resource. Our team, together with the PK Partnership, will assess the impact of the CONNECT programme with a particular focus on its efforts to widen participation and the involvement of specific communities and target groups.
GSC is recognised as a leading science centre in the UK for innovative and meaningful engagement with underserved and underrepresented audiences, particularly outreach work and community-led programmes.
Development of community-based learning programme
The centre has set out an ambitious plan to improve facilities, widen access, develop its community-based learning programme and outreach work over the coming years.
As the centre notes:
“Glasgow is a tale of two cities. It has a very strong vibrant economy, a highly educated workforce and is home to world-leading organisations in STEM. Yet the city has large areas of acute deprivation, a health record that is worse than other comparable post-industrial cities and a high proportion of the population lacking the required skills to help them access work.
“As a result many people are not reaching their full potential… CONNECT is about ensuring that individuals and communities, particularly those facing discrimination and disadvantage, have the opportunity to actively participate in learning and make positive changes in their lives, and in their communities.”
Wider science learning
The CONNECT strategy forms the fundamental driver for these developments that enables the GSC to have a key role within the local region and wider science learning sector.
NSEE and the PK Partnership’s evaluation will complement the overarching evaluation of the Wellcome Trust’s structural funding of science centres being conducted by Graphic Science Ltd.
The science centre, like other organisations, was forced to close its doors for most of 2020 and part of 2021 because of the lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The centre has since piloted/developed new activities, including:
- Online science activities
- Printed magazines (aimed at vulnerable families) and distributed by community partner organisations.
- Weekly short science inputs to two local radio stations
- Piloting new live online school-based work with establishments in Renfrew, West Dunbartonshire and Glasgow
- Community team investigating support for parents alongside pupils
- An adult education initiative, bringing small numbers of adults into the centre.
The NSEE team has extensive expertise in conducting national and international research and evaluation projects that have a track record of informing practice and policy.
Senior researcher Stuart Hall said: “This is an exciting development at the science centre and we are keen to work with the GSC team to determine the impact of the initiative and explore how CONNECT can inform similar work elsewhere in the world.”
Pictures by: © Stuart Hall