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New funding for public engagement

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Funding, Space exploration, Uncategorized

Champions of space exploration often make much of its ill-defined but essential quality, ‘inspiration,’ and its potential for outreach.  Equally, artists and creative types (in the broadest sense) are often keen to point out that their work is more than mere decoration, and can contribute intellectually and practically in other spheres. Back in January I blogged on this very subject– and now we are making new funding available to explore this idea a little further.

On the one hand this is a very open call: the categories are visual arts, video games and creative technology, and pretty much any project which fits into these, and (crucially) has a link to human spaceflight and/or microgravity research in the UK will be considered.

On the other hand, we have quite a particular ambition for the call: to bridge the gap between space as imagined by the majority of people and space as it is practised by the sector in the UK. The UK has one of the most productive and vibrant creative sectors in the world. It also has world renowned scientists and an impressive, and growing, space industry. What better place to foster some original/insightful/provocative/novel work?

The space sector has – quite rightly – dedicated much energy to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education in recent years. There are quite clear reasons why: most space missions are driven by scientific questions or technology development, and are enabled by great engineering; by return the space industry needs ever more STEM-qualified recruits to keep up with its current rate of growth.

Underpinning all of this, though, is a deeper desire for knowledge, progress, insight: it’s why we do space in the first place. It is hoped that the human-ness of human spaceflight will give an inspiring new route for engaging people, whilst providing new perspectives on the work we do

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