Residency: Little Inventors in Space

With the support of match funding from UK Space Agency and Arts Council, this partnership residency with Inspirate and Little Inventors was split across 3 schools, Ashmount, Nether Hall and Ellesmere College.
Originally planned as in person delivery, we switched to digital resources for teachers and school support staff to use to run the activity in September 2020.

Artists Helen Duff, Sian Watson Taylor and John Berkavitch were consulted alongside class teachers to develop a framework for delivery with 2 core aims – contextualising the ideas of space travel and inventions, and developing inclusive ways to enable young people with SEND to submit invention ideas. Each school received a pack of resources, high quality sensory story videos with accompanying sensory resources to bring the idea of space travel, the feelings, smells, sights and sounds of life aboard the international space station.
Also, a box filled with interesting and unusual scrap store items, to allow young people to Independently, or with support, build sculptural ideas to express their invention ideas. The task set was to develop invention ideas to make an astronaut’s life aboard the ISS easier, or more fun. 69 ideas were submitted, some as drawings, some as photos of sculptures, and some as whole class

Six of these ideas were selected to be made into real objects by artists, makers and
engineers and will be exhibited in schools and at the new Space Park for academics and professionals in the aerospace industry. This approach to Social Pedagogy is in direct response to Reggio Children’s model for involving the whole community and local business directly in the learning and development of children.

The sensory aspects of the resources, the design of the videos to enable pauses between sensory activities and the quality of the junk modelling resources inspired exploration and experimentation for the young people. As part of the making process, engineers and artists held zoom calls with the originators of the ideas, and there was a clear sense of pride in those whose ideas had been chosen.

It was a massive joy of the project to see the faces of the young people when there inventions were installed into their schools, to see their ideas brought alive! All of the inventions will be brought together for an exhibition at the Space Park in the new year and with Leicester Design Season in October 2021

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