Over 400 children from across Cardiff took part in a competition to design ‘The Science Museum of the Future’, to feed into the £5m expansion plans for Wales’ national science museum, Techniquest.
The ‘Inspire, Design, Create’ campaign — the concept of Cardiff-based development consultants, Lee Wakemans — was designed to engage schoolchildren in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects, using role models from industry and higher education to inspire the architects, scientists, engineers and designers of the future.
Paul Wong, Director at Lee Wakemans said, “There is a genuine challenge presented to the Welsh workforce by the reported lack of interest and achievement in STEM subjects at a higher level in Wales.
“We wanted to take a proactive approach to addressing this issue by working with schoolchildren to increase their participation and achievement in STEM subjects and then in STEM careers for the future benefit of the industry and economy.”
He added, “The ‘Inspire, Design, Create’ campaign is a fantastic way to begin to do this, and to really make a difference to Cardiff schoolchildren with our partners in this initiative; Techniquest and Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture.”
Children were asked to design ‘The Science Museum of the Future’, in line with Techniquest’s recent announcement that the charity is redeveloping and redesigning its current building into a STEM hub.
Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest, said, “We’re at the start of a really exciting journey where we will be radically transforming our science discovery centre. We’re aiming to make science accessible to all, while ensuring our important work within the STEM sector in Wales continues for future generations.
“We’re keen for the public to have a stake in our exciting new adventure, so this is a great initiative to kick things off. We asked children to tell us what the new extension space should look like and what exhibitions they would like to see in it. This information will feed into our community consultation process.”
Children were helped through the process by students from the Welsh School of Architecture, who went into each school for two half day sessions in the capacity of mentors and role models to guide the children through the process.
Tom Woodward, speaking on behalf of the Welsh School of Architecture who is managing the Cardiff University students said, “The students became STEM ambassadors and have been fantastic role models, making STEM subjects fun and exciting and showing children what architects do.”
A team from Coed Glas Primary School were awarded the prize of ‘Best Overall Design’ in an Awards Ceremony held at Techniquest.
Mrs Rachael Kennard, teacher at Coed Glas Primary School said, “The pupils and I were delighted when we heard that they had won Best Overall Design in the Science Museum of the Future competition. They had thoroughly enjoyed the design and making experience, never thinking or believing they would actually win. The inspiring architect students who worked with them made the children think about the range of creative possibilities that are open to them in the future.”
Other prizes were awarded to Lansdowne Primary School for the ‘Most Scientific Design’ and Gabalfa Primary School for the ‘Most Creative Design’.
The winning team will have the opportunity to visit selected architects, who are being appointed to design Techniquest’s extension, to see early stage designs and how their ideas will provide inspiration to the project.
The ‘Inspire, Design, Create’ Campaign 2018 is set to be the first in a series of initiatives with Cardiff schoolchildren to promote the benefits of engaging with STEM subjects.