We’re delighted to share the nine South West-based community groups that have received funding as part of the British Science Festival Community Grant scheme. The British Science Festival is coming to Exeter in September (Thursday 7 – Sunday 10), in partnership with the University of Exeter.

Grants of up to £600 have been awarded to local community groups and organisations who work with people that are traditionally underrepresented and currently not engaged in science activities to put on their own events during the week of the Festival.

The grants will therefore allow local audiences to engage with science. The funding aims to empower and support community groups, placing the interests, needs and ideas of the people they work with at the forefront of their planned activities and events.

This year, we partnered with Exeter Science Centre to provide support to community groups applying for the grant, and to successful grant awardees in developing and delivering their projects. The Exeter Science Centre is an education charity based in Exeter, working to better connect people with the incredible science research and industry in the region, particularly around global issues.

James Brown, Director of the British Science Festival, says:

“The British Science Festival is all about getting people who wouldn’t usually be interested in science to try something new and get involved.

“The British Science Festival Community Grants embody this by providing an opportunity for local community organisations to engage with the Festival – and science – on their own terms and in their own space. By working with Exeter Science Centre, we hope that these grants will help to spark new local connections to science, and provide a legacy in the city, long after the Festival has finished.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how this funding will provide an insight into local interests and ideas, and seeing the projects come to life.”

The community events are largely closed events but the British Science Festival will feature over 70 free talks, workshops and performances open to the public. Free tickets can be booked at britishsciencefestival.org/.

Book your free tickets

The nine grant-funded organisations are wide-ranging and do fantastic work in their communities – find out more below: 

  • Art and Energy CIC will be running 4 workshops with people from the Exeter Diocese Network of Churches across Devon to look closely at mosses and discover the vital roles that they play in responding to the climate and ecological emergencies. The participants will look into the ecology of moss, and contribute to The Mossy Carpet; a mass-participation artwork which aims to inspire a huge audience about climate action, the importance of mossy environments, and discovering everybody’s creativity and connectedness. (Pictured, right).

  • CoLab will be running two workshops for their members on the theme of Planets and Stars, guided by academics in the University of Exeter’s Astrophysics Group. During these workshops, the participants will find out about local research and broader topics in astrophysics and astronomy, whilst carrying out creative activities with space-themed refreshments.

  • Exwick Community Association will be organising a bioblitz to help the local residents find the nature that lives all around them, whilst highlighting the careful science of observation and recording data. They will be counting and identifying plants, insects and animals, and photographing, sketching and recording them to map their location. Their findings will be turned into a creative display in the Exwick Community Centre to share with the wider community.

  • Interwoven Productions CIC are working with Chestnut Nursery and Wynstream Primary School to engage families in the Wonford area with a community-led landscape/heritage project. When the school site was re-developed in 2005 archaeologists identified Bronze Age and Iron Age ditches plus a range of artefacts from different ages. Children and their families will explore the science of remote sensing archaeology through the history of their local area.

  • Makeshift CIC will be running a workshop for women, who are traditionally underrepresented in tech, introducing them to electronics in a fun, unusual way; by hacking children’s toys in a process known as ‘circuit bending’. The aim will be to create unique musical instruments and sound generators, whilst learning about electrical circuits and how sound is generated electronically.

  • Maketank Cultural LabDevon Ukrainian Association will be organising a 2.5-day workshop with young Ukrainian women who are currently living in Exeter, to envision the future of the city by introducing them to behavioural science and placemaking. They will learn how to identify the physical and cultural aspects of places to design meaningful solutions that can strengthen a sense of identity, access, and ownership of a place. The participants will use Blender software and 3D printing to visualise their ideas, which will be used to engage the wider public at the end of the workshop. (Pictured, right).

  • Positive Light Projects are running a day of experimental cameraless photography workshops for the general public. Working in their brand-new darkroom, they will cover a range of analogue photographic techniques and alternative processes, including photograms, chemigrams, anthotypes, lumen prints and cyanotypes. This project aims to promote the sharing of stories and appreciation of different perspectives through photography, whilst highlighting the science of the photographic process.

  • The Pelican Project Exeter CIC will be working with Ruth MacLaren of Sciencedipity, to organise a workshop for its members in response to Exeter Science Centre’s Climate Exhibition that they will visit during the British Science Festival. The workshop will be a sensory and creative exploration of the science of the exhibition, which will aim to better connect its members with local scientific research and its practitioners in the future. (Pictured, right).

  • Seed-Exe-Change (Exeter Seed Bank)will be organising the first-ever Exeter Tomato Festival (ETF) for the general public, promoting tomato diversity and seed saving. They will be demonstrating the fermentation process that is part of saving tomato seeds, whilst highlighting the science of taste, and encouraging people to grow-their-own. As part of this event, they will be growing their connections with the LGBTQ+ community by exploring queer belonging in the context of growing and connection to nature. You can take part in this event at the Daily Bowl Cafe by Exeter Central Station from 11.00 - 14:30 on Sunday 10 September!

For more information about the work the BSA does to support and engage with community groups, please visit our Community Engagement page and follow BSA Communities on Twitter.