All author's publications are listed below.
Many people are under-served by existing informal science learning (ISL) provisions and under-represented in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics/Medicine) study choices and careers. This paper reflects upon SMASHfestUK which was established, as both a STEAM festival and research platform, to explore methods and approaches for lowering the barriers to engagement with ISL in marginalised communities. To do this SMASHfestUK located its events in the heart of communities and worked with these communities to create those events. This paper tells their story through the voices of participating communities.
Stories are fundamental to human history, culture and development. Immersive theatre has created a landscape where participants have agency within stories, and within this landscape the concept of narrative transportation provides a framework where change within stories creates change in real life. “Space Plague” is a co-designed, fully immersive theatrical experience for young people and families about a fictional pandemic. It was developed using community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) employing a novel model for engaging underserved and under-represented audiences, “SCENE”. Results confirmed that indications of narrative transportation effects were achieved, demonstrating enhanced learning and understanding alongside changing attitudes and indicated positive change when negotiating the COVID-19 crisis.