We The Curious

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by We The Curious's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from We The Curious is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.wethecurious.org

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
11WE THE CURIOUS |
EDUCATION SERVICES
A We The Curious visitor and a
member of the Live Science Team
A We The Curious family
enjoying the venue
We The Curious is an educational charity which aims to
remove boundaries around science – connecting art,
people and ideas in a united culture of curiosity. Chief
Executive Donna Speed says that We The Curious is setting out
to dismantle institutional narratives of science by empowering
people to ask questions, and valuing their questions as much
as the answers. In September 2017, We The Curious launched
with a brand new vision to create a “culture of curiosity”.
Prior to that, it had been known as At-Bristol Science Centre,
which opened in 2000 as a millennium-funded project and has
welcomed more than five million visitors since its opening, the
previous charitable aim was to “make science accessible to all”.
Here at We The Curious, we want to inspire learning, create agency, drive action
and be a force for social change, by creating a “culture of curiosity”. As an
educational charity, we have a social responsibility to be relevant for all, especially
in this ever-shifting educational and social climate. We are responding to our
audiences and our city and prioritising the underrepresented voices – in culture,
higher education and STEM – to work out how our role as a cultural institution can
help support the needs of our society.
We know this is a bold statement, but with recent statistics from Teach First
revealing an alarming shift in educational equality between rich and poor
postcodes, there is a clear need to extend inclusion and equitable practice
ineducation.
FACTS ABOUT
WE THE CURIOUS
»Leaders: Chief Executive
Donna Speed and Creative
Director Anna Starkey
»Opened in 2000 as Explore
At-Bristol, changed to We The
Curious in 2017
»Located in Bristol
»Services: Educational charity,
hands-on science centre
»No. of employees: 160 staff,
160 volunteers
»Welcomed over 5 million
visitors since 2000
»The venue offers more than
250 interactive exhibits, live
science shows, collaborative
experiments and the UK’s only
three-dimensional planetarium
We The Curious
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
12 | WE THE CURIOUS
Why curiosity?
Curiosity is an emotion that
everyone has; it is felt by all ages and
backgrounds and is the driving force of
both scientific and creative endeavour
– the starting point for creativity
andinnovation.
By providing a space where people are
truly at the heart of science, and one
which is welcoming and accessible to a
diverse range of people, we can create
an authentic and fair approach to both
formal and informal education.
Curiosity can lead to social change for
the better. It can have an impact on
key areas such as education, health,
industry and economy. It also brings
into question who gets to make the
decisions, and this shift is part of the
journey that we’ve been on since
2017. We have been working through
huge organisational change: redefining
our mission, and our charitable aims
and the way in which we want to
achieve them.
We aim to build knowledge and
questioning skills, and develop a
stronger sense of agency around
learning through opening up science
and providing opportunity to share
ideas and develop empathy.
Collaboration and connection
In autumn 2020, we will be opening a
brand-new exhibition and experience
space – Project What If – designed
entirely around questions from the
people of Bristol. We spent almost a
year gathering questions and reached
every postcode in the city. We now
have a database of over 10,000
brilliantly curious questions.
As part of the research and
development phase, we completely
changed the way we worked, by
surrendering control of the decision-
making process, and inviting our
audiences and communities to make
those choices with us. We asked
ourselves, what if we all opened up
our cultural spaces to the questions
of our audiences, and allowed visitors
more agency in what we offer?
We built relationships and shared our
ideas with art collectives, local schools,
community groups such as West of
England Centre for Inclusive Living,
Creative Youth Network, Bristol City
Academy and more. We worked with
these communities, our visitors and
non-visitors, and we allowed these
groups to select the final questions
which will be answered in the new
exhibition floor.
We have also been working with these
groups on our exhibit prototypes,
asking them to help us test out what
works, and more importantly, what
does not. We have listened to what
is important to them, and we have
made sure that people are represented
and that we are carrying the voice
of our communities throughout the
process. This allows us to bring the
“We” in “We The Curious” into our
processes, our development and our
decision-making.
We rely on a diverse range of skills
from our staff and volunteers,
as well as from our community
Fully three-dimensional
planetarium
We believe that
creating a
culture of
curiosity makes
for a more
resilient,
compassionate,
creative and
connected
society
13WE THE CURIOUS |
EDUCATION SERVICES
partners, academic researchers and
industryspecialists.
This new collaborative working
model has differed from some of the
traditional expectations regarding
the relevance and value of different
types of experience and expertise.
It has yielded some surprising and
valuable outcomes for both us and our
partners, revealing the diversity of the
scientific process. Through our “Open
City Lab” project, we have hosted
over 70 academic researchers through
pilot projects and have received an
overwhelmingly enthusiastic response
from partners all keen to explore the
added value of audience influence on
their research.
Working with youth audiences is one
of our key areas of development.
We’ve recently piloted two projects,
the “Curious Researchers” and a
trainee programme; both of these
work with schools in deprived socio-
economic areas of Bristol and are
based on providing them with career
opportunities and representation. We
have also recently welcomed a new
youth member to our board.
Challenges
Some of our biggest challenges are
managing the expectations of our
audiences and learning from the
evaluation process. Some audiences
expect us to be provocative and to
take a stance on subjects such as
climate action. Others may just want
a fun, family day out, so it can be
difficult trying to please different
audience types and ensuring that we
are welcome and accessible to all.
The concept of collaborative
development is also a challenge, as
there are not many rulebooks on
how to design an exhibition space
in a collaborative way. This iterative
process requires us to make space
for the unknown and to be true to a
user-led process. It is a bumpy journey
that can be demanding and it takes
time to see the benefit, but it is also
veryrewarding.
Looking forward, the future of our
organisation is exciting; we have a
real opportunity to make a difference
and play an important part in levelling
access to education.
We believe that creating a culture of
curiosity makes for a more resilient,
compassionate, creative and connected
society. It can inspire learning, action
and change, and that’s an incredible
thing to be a part of.
When the new exhibition opens in
autumn 2020, it’s only really the
start of the physical manifestation
of our journey – we will continue to
evolve and develop, to be user-led
and to push our organisation to be as
relevant, collaborative, progressive and
curious as possible.
As an
educational
charity, we
have a social
responsibility
to be relevant
for all,
especially in
this ever-
shifting
educational
and social
climate
According to Teach First’s study of August 2019, two in five, 38per
cent, of pupils from the poorest postcodes do not pass Maths GCSE,
nearly twice as many as those from the richest postcodes, 20percent.
According to the Bristol City Council: Indices of Deprivation in Bristol,
16 per cent of residents – 69,000 people – live in the most deprived
areas in England, including 17,800 children and 10,500 older people.
Visitors in the greenhouse
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
12 | WE THE CURIOUS
Why curiosity?
Curiosity is an emotion that
everyone has; it is felt by all ages and
backgrounds and is the driving force of
both scientific and creative endeavour
– the starting point for creativity
andinnovation.
By providing a space where people are
truly at the heart of science, and one
which is welcoming and accessible to a
diverse range of people, we can create
an authentic and fair approach to both
formal and informal education.
Curiosity can lead to social change for
the better. It can have an impact on
key areas such as education, health,
industry and economy. It also brings
into question who gets to make the
decisions, and this shift is part of the
journey that we’ve been on since
2017. We have been working through
huge organisational change: redefining
our mission, and our charitable aims
and the way in which we want to
achieve them.
We aim to build knowledge and
questioning skills, and develop a
stronger sense of agency around
learning through opening up science
and providing opportunity to share
ideas and develop empathy.
Collaboration and connection
In autumn 2020, we will be opening a
brand-new exhibition and experience
space – Project What If – designed
entirely around questions from the
people of Bristol. We spent almost a
year gathering questions and reached
every postcode in the city. We now
have a database of over 10,000
brilliantly curious questions.
As part of the research and
development phase, we completely
changed the way we worked, by
surrendering control of the decision-
making process, and inviting our
audiences and communities to make
those choices with us. We asked
ourselves, what if we all opened up
our cultural spaces to the questions
of our audiences, and allowed visitors
more agency in what we offer?
We built relationships and shared our
ideas with art collectives, local schools,
community groups such as West of
England Centre for Inclusive Living,
Creative Youth Network, Bristol City
Academy and more. We worked with
these communities, our visitors and
non-visitors, and we allowed these
groups to select the final questions
which will be answered in the new
exhibition floor.
We have also been working with these
groups on our exhibit prototypes,
asking them to help us test out what
works, and more importantly, what
does not. We have listened to what
is important to them, and we have
made sure that people are represented
and that we are carrying the voice
of our communities throughout the
process. This allows us to bring the
“We” in “We The Curious” into our
processes, our development and our
decision-making.
We rely on a diverse range of skills
from our staff and volunteers,
as well as from our community
Fully three-dimensional
planetarium
We believe that
creating a
culture of
curiosity makes
for a more
resilient,
compassionate,
creative and
connected
society
13WE THE CURIOUS |
EDUCATION SERVICES
partners, academic researchers and
industryspecialists.
This new collaborative working
model has differed from some of the
traditional expectations regarding
the relevance and value of different
types of experience and expertise.
It has yielded some surprising and
valuable outcomes for both us and our
partners, revealing the diversity of the
scientific process. Through our “Open
City Lab” project, we have hosted
over 70 academic researchers through
pilot projects and have received an
overwhelmingly enthusiastic response
from partners all keen to explore the
added value of audience influence on
their research.
Working with youth audiences is one
of our key areas of development.
We’ve recently piloted two projects,
the “Curious Researchers” and a
trainee programme; both of these
work with schools in deprived socio-
economic areas of Bristol and are
based on providing them with career
opportunities and representation. We
have also recently welcomed a new
youth member to our board.
Challenges
Some of our biggest challenges are
managing the expectations of our
audiences and learning from the
evaluation process. Some audiences
expect us to be provocative and to
take a stance on subjects such as
climate action. Others may just want
a fun, family day out, so it can be
difficult trying to please different
audience types and ensuring that we
are welcome and accessible to all.
The concept of collaborative
development is also a challenge, as
there are not many rulebooks on
how to design an exhibition space
in a collaborative way. This iterative
process requires us to make space
for the unknown and to be true to a
user-led process. It is a bumpy journey
that can be demanding and it takes
time to see the benefit, but it is also
veryrewarding.
Looking forward, the future of our
organisation is exciting; we have a
real opportunity to make a difference
and play an important part in levelling
access to education.
We believe that creating a culture of
curiosity makes for a more resilient,
compassionate, creative and connected
society. It can inspire learning, action
and change, and that’s an incredible
thing to be a part of.
When the new exhibition opens in
autumn 2020, it’s only really the
start of the physical manifestation
of our journey – we will continue to
evolve and develop, to be user-led
and to push our organisation to be as
relevant, collaborative, progressive and
curious as possible.
As an
educational
charity, we
have a social
responsibility
to be relevant
for all,
especially in
this ever-
shifting
educational
and social
climate
According to Teach First’s study of August 2019, two in five, 38per
cent, of pupils from the poorest postcodes do not pass Maths GCSE,
nearly twice as many as those from the richest postcodes, 20percent.
According to the Bristol City Council: Indices of Deprivation in Bristol,
16 per cent of residents – 69,000 people – live in the most deprived
areas in England, including 17,800 children and 10,500 older people.
Visitors in the greenhouse

www.wethecurious.org

This article was sponsored by We The Curious. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development