Prism Development


Photo credit Louise King


Director/Creator

Prism Development Project

Looking into wether the science of colour-mixing could be the core concept in a children’s theatre show for ages five and up.

Working with a wider creative team I was able to investigate ideas, run workshops with nursery and school children and perform two work-in-progress sharings.

A link to the blog charting my progress for the children we worked with can be found here.

To discuss the future of this work please contact me at lisawilsoncreative@gmail.com

Beltane Anual Gathering

As this month comes to a close I thought it would be appropriate to look back on some of the larger or more unusual projects I have delivered over the past few months.

 Beltane Annual Gathering: Photo Credit Chris Scott

Edinburgh Beltane Public Engagement Network

I performed two roles for the Beltane Annual Gathering. The first was consultation and project management for the design of the space, the second was delivering two training sessions and compeering part of the evening. The annual gathering took place in Chesser House and welcomed those from universities working public engagement, educational organisations as well as those working in community practice. The theme was responding and reusing and as the site was a disused office building it was a fun challenge to convert long, sparse rooms into inviting spaces. A personal highlight for me was the U.V room which matched the overall neon outlined spaces in the rest of the building.

The training sessions I delivered were on Snappy Storytelling and Thinking Creatively for Engagement Success. I really enjoyed working with a wide variety of people to explore how creative skills and imaginative facilitation can transform public engagement projects. Participants of the Snappy Storytelling workshop were also invited to deliver stand-up comedy style versions of their work, many of whom used their sock puppet partners to help deliver this. It is always a real pleasure to create an environment where people feel supported enough and enthused enough to share their work with a wider audience.

Small Stories for the Institute of Physics Scotland

Working for the Institute of Physics Scotland I was asked to create and deliver stories and workshops for under 5’s and their grownups around science concepts.

Creating work for this age group is brilliant and the project has allowed me to trial ideas – toddlers simply walk off if they are bored, you get some pretty direct feedback. Working with multiple groups from young parents, dad-focused groups and parent-run organisations and art groups across Edinburgh, Easterhouse and Fife I have learned a lot and developed my ideas.

As the project trial I wrote four stories and accompanying workshops:

The Falling Down Question – Bella wants to know why acorns fall and sycamore seeds whirl through the air. Inspired by a squirrel and with the help of her friends (that’s you!) she explores gravity and tests paper helicopters.

Ali Noise Maker – Ali’s house is a noisy house, there are lots of sounds around. But Ali doesn’t like loud noises, besides, he doesn’t even know what sound is or how it reaches our ears. An exploration of sounds and vibrations.

Three Little Ducks and the Great Bath Experiment – The Three Little Ducks have a very sensible bath routine and one Great Splashy Visitor who plays with them. Until one day the toys that float meet toys who sink…can this exploration of buoyancy end well?

The Day the Sun didn’t come to breakfast – Callum is a colour-catcher and spends his days finding new colours for his collection. But when the sun doesn’t come up one morning he realises how important light is in colour, will the sun ever come back?

Small Stories is a family storytelling outreach project run all across the country.

Explorathon 2016

This year for me has been building up to producing a Curiosity Forest that has a legacy. Working with Beltane Public Engagement to connect researchers, provide training opportunities and invite them to take part in public engagement events.

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Having worked with a range of researchers over three training sessions in the run up to this years event I really felt that the Curiosity Forest was building a community. The researchers I worked with were diverse in their respective fields of study but united in their enthusiasm and creativity. I couldn't have been happier with the process when I realised a room full of PhD candidates were throwing themselves fully into making sock puppets for our public speaking training. It really was a sight for sore eyes.

Widening training opportunities meant that volunteers for the event also included masters and undergrad students as well as a retired scientist and storyteller. It was fanstatic to have a huge range of talent present across the weekend.

The partnership with Beltane and Explorathon came from my reaslisation that adults could benefit directly from the Curiosity Forest without needing to bring children. Watching parents interact with activities last year reminded me that outside-the-box-thinking events should not be solely for children and their grown-ups. Friday 30th September included all the researchers you could have asked for, snappy storytelling, hands-on activities, colouring-in and event a science ceilidh.

Saturday and Sunday reverted back to a family-friendly audience while still encouraging adults to engage in science and art. As the weekend progressed from an Explorathon (European researcher based) event into a Fun Palace (community arts and science) we saw more activities from non-researchers including storytellers, our own illustrator, Blair Drummond Safari park, Glasgow Science Centre and the RSPB. Blending current research with more familiar scientific outreach worked well and provided a nice balance to the day.

Over the course of the weekend five hundred and eighty eight people took part - which was brilliant of course. Though I know next year we can get even more people involved in the event and I look forward to welcoming back this years exhibitors, meeting news ones and continuing to provide training opportunities that encourage us all to play with science.

An enormous thank you goes out to everyone who helped over the past few months, visited, exhibited or helped make a woodland.

 

Photo credit: Chris Scott

The Curiosity Forest 2015

"Everyone is an artist, everyone is a scientist" 

Highlights from the Curiosity Foreston 3rd October 2015 as filmed by Straightcut Media. This is the project I came up with as a response to the UK wide Fun Palace events by creating an indoor woodland full of free arts and science events for families in Edinburgh.

The moto of Fun Palaces mirrors my gloriously mixed career path. As a facilitator, theatre-maker and science communicator I have engaged communities across Scotland and abroad. When I was introduced to the concept of creating a free community event celebrating art and science for my local community it felt right for me to make my own event under the Fun Palaces UK banner.

Inspired by other Fun Palace makers in Edinburgh I created a miniature festival in just three weeks. Turning Tech Cube, Summerhall place into an indoor woodland and filling it with art and science activites for families. Even with a limited capacity we had families queuing (and waiting patiently, thank you) out the door. Over three hundred members of the community came to take part. The Story Glen offered poetry, animal stories, music therapy and a science ceilidh workshop. Across from the Glen families could; make their own Lush bath bombs, help Heriot Watt map the grey squirrel population with their craft skills, make masks with the Ecology Centre, Find out about fossils with the Cockburn Geology Museum, perfect pocket puppets with the Festival Theatre, play in the shadow forest or chill over colouring-in with illustrations from artist Gemma Valentine.

 

This year the festival will be bigger than ever. Spanning two days, in a larger venue and more content than ever before. On the 1st and 2nd of October 2016 the Curiosity Forest will open its doors once more to let families inside the outside; celebrating art, science and culture. If you would like to be involved running one of the activities, have an idea for a story-session or other creative element then get in touch.

 

wordcloud of audience feedback from the 2015 curiosity forest

wordcloud of audience feedback from the 2015 curiosity forest