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By Karen Davies on

Building a community of good practice

How can we build a 'community of good practice'? This March we launched the Manchester hub of the Science Museum Group Academy, and announced our ‘Science Capital in Practice’ programme, in collaboration with the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC).

The launch of the Manchester hub of the Academy helps coordinate our development and delivery of training courses and resources for those involved in STEM engagement and learning across the UK. This hub will enable us to share our research-informed good practice framework and tools with more teachers and STEM engagement practitioners from different regions.

People gathered for the launch of the Science Museum Group Academy Manchester hub launch.

We all have a part to play in helping people find meaning and relevance in STEM. During the launch, we announced our exciting new ‘Science Capital in Practice’ programme. This national programme has been set up, in collaboration with Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC), to create a ‘community of good practice’, to help increase diversity and inclusion in science.

The 15 selected museums and science centres for the programme, starting June 2019, are:

1. Aberdeen Science Centre
2. Dundee Science Centre
3. Glasgow Science Centre
4. Eden Project, Cornwall
5. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London
6. International Centre for Life, Newcastle
7. National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield
8.Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes
9.Cambridge Science Centre
10.Oxford University Museum of Natural History
11.Science Oxford
12.Thinktank (Birmingham Museums Trust)
13.Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire
14. Winchester Science Centre
15.Techniquest Glyndŵr, Wrexham, North Wales

Each organisation will receive a grant, training, mentoring support and additional resources to allow them to apply the concept of ‘science capital’ to their STEM engagement activities, and to incorporate this learning more broadly into their organisation. The programme includes input from Professor Louise Archer from UCL and Heather King, from King’s College, London, alongside the Science Museum Group Academy team. The projects that will be delivered range from providing work experience opportunities for unemployed young people, to creating family science boxes and training staff to effect organisational change.

We are very excited to be sharing the knowledge we have gained through the Enterprising Science project where we were practically applying the science capital concept to our own work. We know that ‘growing science capital in individuals and society’ can’t be achieved by one organisation alone, it requires support and adoption from the wider informal science learning sector which is why this programme is so significant.

We look forward to sharing more about these projects as the programme develops. The ‘Science Capital in Practice’ page, on the ASDC website, provides more detail about the programme. The Science Museum website provides more information about the Academy, our locations and collaborations.

Our ‘Science Capital in Practice’ series shares updates on the progress of organisations involved in the programme, a collaboration between the Science Museum Group and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres.

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