On Wednesday, the British Science Association gave a presentation at the SHARE Regional Learning Network which I thought might be of interest which I thought would be of interest to many of you…
Like history and the arts, science has a “professional class” – people who do it for a living. However far few people see science as something you can has as a hobby or take-part in informally. The BSA’s goal is to change this by engaging the wider public with science through events, activities and projects. The best known of these is the annual British Science Festival, which takes place in a different city each tear and dates back to 1831. However, they also offer CREST Awards for young people (which I will be writing about in another post next week), and British Science Week.
Why Is This Relevant To Museums?
The definition of “science” used by the BSA is a very broad one. It includes natural history, medicine, archaeology, forensics, engineering… in fact most museums will have something in their collection which is applicable. The BSA offer grants of up to £500 for community organisations, including museums (even local authority ones!) to run events during British Science Week that are targeted at an audience which is traditionally under-represented in science.
How Can Museums Get Involved?
The 2016 British Science Week will take place between the 11th and 20th of March. The audiences they particularly want to reach out to through their Community Grant Scheme are:
- Black and Minority Ethnic Groups
- Those of a low socioeconomic status
- Young people with anti-social behaviour including those who are not in education employment or training (NEET)
- People with a disability
- Girls and women
- Those living in a remote and rural location.
The application process includes a 300 word description of what you’re going to do and a further 300 words on how you’re going to recruit the target audience. Members of the target audience can also apply for the funding themselves in order to visit science venues and events.
When making decisions regarding the funding, the committee don’t take into account the number of people who will be engaged through the project however if the project is working with a smaller number of people they would expect the level of engagement to be deeper.
The fund opened for applications this week and the deadline is the 23rd of November.
There also is a separate Kick Start Grant Scheme for schools to take part in British Science Week (£300 for activities in the school, £700 for those in a school engaging the wider community) which your education partners might be interested in.
However, even if you do not apply for a grant (or are unsuccessful), you can still register a Science Week event with the BSA via their website. Organisations that do this receive a range of support including:
- access to case studies
- activity packs, projects and quizzes
- marketing materials and PR
- connections with local science volunteers
You can register your event up until middle of February.