Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) has received funding of £2.9 million that will revolutionise the visitor attraction. As well as improvements to existing facilities and exhibition spaces and the development of its community based learning programme, the funding will transform the exterior of the centre by the Clyde at its Pacific Quay location.
Awarded through the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Wellcome Trust – it is the biggest single investment in GSC since it opened in 2001.
The money will fund GSC’s Connect project that will deliver a range of new interactions and experiences to make GSC more attractive and accessible to a wider and more diverse audience and aims to cement GSC in the fabric of Glasgow as a community hub.
Dr Stephen Breslin, Chief Executive at Glasgow Science Centre said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been successful in our application to the Inspiring Science Fund. Connect aims to empower the people of Glasgow to make positive changes in their lives and communities through learning and engagement with science.
It will build upon and expand our successful community engagement programmes to better serve the diverse communities across the city and will permeate throughout all of our activities to make us more relevant to Glasgow citizens – helping to raise attainment and develop skills for all.”
Elements of Connect:
· Targeted community learning and development programme– GSC will enhance its needs-led engagement programme, serving the diverse communities Glasgow is home to. This will allow the GSC team to work alongside community groups to identify needs and develop relevant STEM engagement programmes. A new dedicated Community Learning Hub will also be built in the centre to allow groups to meet and take part in activities.
· Enhanced exhibition spaces– “Explore!”, a new exhibition gallery, housed in the main atrium space and Ground Floor of GSC will be created. This will build the anticipation and excitement of visitors from the moment they arrive at GSC.
· Improved facilities- in growing a more diverse audience, GSC identified that visitor facilities required to be updated to ensure individual needs are met. A key improvement will be the introduction of a Changing Places toilet that will give visitors access to extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably.
· Programme of Inclusive Cultural Science Events- building on the successes of the Planetarium events programme and adult only Science Lates, GSC will create an ongoing events programme that are attractive to a broad audience.
· Transformation of Pacific Quay– the creation of a new outdoor learning space filled with exciting hands on exhibits, seating and sculptures along the Clydeside. The aim is to bring the fun of GSC outdoors and build a free to access, unique and welcoming outdoor space for play, discovery and social interaction. This space will also act as a venue for cultural science events.
The enhancements to the visitor attraction will be underpinned by organisational change that will create policies and practices that embed inclusion, diversity and equity within GSC. Connect will embed the practice of Community Learning and Development into the heart of GSC to create and nurture diverse and aware staff.
Over the next few months, the team at GSC will work with stakeholders to source the match funding required as part of the Inspiring Science Fund and plan the implementation phase of Connect. Visitors will start to see changes from spring 2019 with the addition of the Changing Places Toilet.
Dundee Science Centre also received £1.45 million to transform their centre into a local community hub. This is addition to the £2 million that has just been spent on expanding the exhibit and learning spaces in the centre. Together with the funding allocated to Aberdeen Science Centre last year, it represents a significant investment in science and STEM in Scotland as we embark on plans to deliver on our national STEM Education and Training Strategy.