The National Space Centre’s Discovery Team are going to work with Moving Together, a community dance company based in Leicester, to deliver a weekly autism-specific after school club in which participants will learn about space and dance, using movement and digital enhancement to display space science concepts such as the movement of the planets. 

The team will also be creating free digital resources, including short films with the participants, for anyone to take part online. Finished instructional films will be shared across the visitor attraction’s social media channels this summer so that everyone can blast off to space to explore the wonders of our Universe. 

The National Space Centre has been awarded a grant to teach autistic children about space using dance as part of a UK-wide project to develop new and creative digital ways to engage and involve under-served and under-represented communities and audiences with STEM.  

Project Inspire: Autism-friendly Space and Dance Sessions

The Leicester-based attraction has been selected as one of eight Science Centres in the UK to receive funding as part of the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres’ (ASDC) Project Inspire: Digital Engagement and Innovation Programme. This project is in collaboration with the Inspiring Science Fund, a partnership between UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. The team at the Centre are currently working with the National Autistic Society to complete training all about understanding autism that will help them explore how the condition affects people in different ways and how to best create an accessible learning environment. 

“We’re excited to be working with Moving Together to develop this new project, teaching autistic children in our local community about space through dance,” said Charlie Isham, Education and Space Comms Manager at the National Space Centre.“It will allow us to engage with new audiences and get them excited about STEM, in a way that is best-suited to their learning needs. It also builds on our training with the National Autistic Society which we are really proud to be taking part in. As well as working with children in our after school club we’re thrilled that we will then be able to then offer these sessions and resources to our online audience. 

The eight selected Science Centres are: Glasgow Science Centre, Dundee Science Centre, Kielder Observatory, Techniquest, National Space Centre, Science Oxford, We the Curious and Winchester Science Centre.

The projects range from co-creating inclusive digital community platforms with youth groups and university teams and home-start in Dundee to bringing under-represented voices through story-telling and lived experience into the climate conversation for bespoke climate cafés in Glasgow in the run up to COP26.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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