Schools and Families
Community and Societal Engagement
Space Lab has a vigorous program of community and societal engagement. We follow three key principles in developing our engagement activities:
- Reach out to under-served communities: we deliberately seek to spend our time, energy and effort engaging with communities who have not historically interacted deeply with Imperial. Our goal is to break down barriers, so that no person thinks that space is "not for the likes of them".
- Get in early with longitudinal local contact: we look to develop connections to young people, their caregivers and trusted adults, and wider community so that over the long term we can develop meaningful engagement. We also focus on our local area, particularly around our White City innovation campus.
- Influence the influencer: young people have many individuals in their life who guide and advise them, and it is important that these people are also armed with relevant facts and information to help make informed choices. We look to support educators, parents, and community leaders in enabling them to provide the best possible support for young people in STEM subjects.
I'm a Space Person
A major barrier in the uptake of STEM is that many children may not see science as something for “people like me”.
I'm a Space Person is a careers resource for upper-primary and lower-secondary school students. It consists of a set of careers postcards and accompanying physical resources for use at schools and events, alongside digital resources allowing families and school classes to explore the space sector.
The postcards make the diverse careers available in the space sector relatable by highlighting personal attributes associated with different roles. The postcards are prompts that allow children to talk to adults, and challenge misconceptions about what a career in the space sector involves.
The project lead, Dr Martin Archer, led a team of students and worked with Imperial colleagues and industry partners to develop exemplars of different jobs. This was then used to design the postcards and website/digital resources. The project was funded by an STFC Public Engagement Spark Award, and subsequently has formed a key part of the UK Space Agency's nationwide tour in 2023.
Working with partners
In London, members of Space Lab have undertaken numerous activities working with a number of local youth centres in Paddington, White City and other neighbouring areas. We are particularly proud to work with STEMtheViolence, a not-for-profit organisation set up by a serving Met Police Detective. STEMtheViolence uses STEM engagement to steer young people away from gang and knife crime and back into education, apprenticeships and employment. Space Lab is a named partner with members on the board of directors since April 2021.
On the international stage, Phoenix Space works to provide displaced and underprivileged children across the planet to raise their educational aspirations and scientific understanding, using Space Science as the central core subject. Space Lab members have worked with Phoenix Space, running talks and workshops for students in the Middle East, with local translators. In addition, Space Lab has provided scientific and educational advice to the group.
Space Lab related science podcasts
Want to learn more about our space science and engineering research? We've made a Soundcloud playlist of all the content we currently have relating to space: https://soundcloud.com/user-499485249/sets/space - click on the link to head over and find out more!