GLASGOW Science Centre has been awarded almost £3million towards revolutionising the visitor attraction. Creation of a unique outdoor learning space and a new exhibition gallery are among planned improvements.
Better facilities and development of the science centre’s community-based learning programme are also proposed.
The £2.9million awarded from the Inspiring Science Fund -– a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Wellcome Trust –- is the biggest single investment in Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) since it opened beside the Clyde at Pacific Quay in 2001.
The money will go towards the centre’s Connect project that will deliver a range of new interactions and experiences to make the venue more attractive and accessible to a wider and more diverse audience and aims to cement the venue in the fabric of Glasgow as a community hub.
Elements of Connect:
Transformation of Pacific Quay — the creation of a new outdoor learning space filled with hands-on exhibits, seating and sculptures along the river. The aim is to bring the fun of GSC outdoors and build a free-to-access, unique and welcoming space for play, discovery and social interaction. This space will also act as a venue for cultural science events.
Enhanced exhibition spaces — “Explore!”, a new exhibition gallery, housed in the main atrium space and ground floor, will be created to build the anticipation and excitement of visitors from the moment they arrive.
Improved facilities — in growing a more diverse audience, GSC identified that visitor facilities required to be updated to ensure individual needs are met. A key improvement will be the introduction of a Changing Places toilet that will give visitors access to extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably.
Targeted community learning and development programme — GSC will enhance its needs-led engagement programme, serving the diverse communities Glasgow is home to. A new dedicated Community Learning Hub will also be built in the centre to allow groups to meet and take part in activities.
Programme of Inclusive Cultural Science Events — Building on the successes of the Planetarium events programme and adult-only Science Lates, GSC will create an ongoing events programme that is attractive to a broad audience.
Over the next few months, the team at GSC will work with stakeholders to source the match funding required as part of the Inspiring Science Fund and plan the implementation phase of Connect. Visitors will start to see changes from spring 2019 with the addition of the Changing Places Toilet.
Dr Stephen Breslin, chief executive at Glasgow Science Centre said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been successful in our application to the Inspiring Science Fund. Connect aims to empower the people of Glasgow to make positive changes in their lives and communities through learning and engagement with science.
“It will build upon and expand our successful community engagement programmes to better serve the diverse communities across the city and will permeate throughout all of our activities to make us more relevant to Glasgow citizens – helping to raise attainment and develop skills for all.”
The enhancements to the visitor attraction will be underpinned by organisational change that will create policies and practices that embed inclusion, diversity and equity within GSC. Connect will embed the practice of Community Learning and Development into the heart of GSC to create and nurture diverse and aware staff.
Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “We want to bring the wonders of science to as wide an audience as possible and that’s why it is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. Today’s investment will help inspire people from across the country to learn about the truly amazing benefits that science and technology has on all our lives.”