New Exhibition at The Crick

April 19, 2017

We spent last week installing the Francis Crick Institute’s new exhibition, Open for Discovery. The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow, but we couldn’t resist sharing some photos beforehand!

Open for Discovery invites visitors to step inside the scientific mind of the Crick, learn about who Francis Crick was and explore the Institute’s research interests.

The exhibition is split into six elements: Francis Crick, influenza, TB, DNA, cancer and growth factors. Scientists at the Crick’s founding sites played an important role in developing our understanding of each of these areas, and these strands of research remain central to the new Institute’s research programme with many of the scientists being world-leaders in their respective fields.

The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow, April  20th, and is open until 28th October 2017.

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Secret Structures at Wakehurst

April 12, 2017

We’ve recently been working with Wakehurst in West Sussex to design their new Secret Structures exhibition.

Wakehurst is home to a 16th-century mansion, set in 500 acres of garden which includes a botanic garden,  woodland, wetland conservation areas, Kew Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank- the world’s largest seed conservation project- and exhibition spaces.

Wakehurst’s new exhibition, Secret Structures, provides an opportunity to not only marvel at plants and fungi, but to learn from them and better understand our need to protect them.

Inside the exhibition an interactive table peels back the layers of scanned objects including a Brazil nut and an orchid to reveal their intricate innards, the complex and normally hidden root system of an excavated oak tree are revealed, and a light sculpture created by the exhibition’s Artist in Residence, Perdita Sinclair, is suspended from the ceiling.

We developed multimedia displays for the exhibition which explore the unusual, secret and curious sides of a number of specimens, including Brazil nuts, walnuts and orchids. The displays cover the incredible role oak trees play in supporting biodiversity in the UK, the complex process of propagating orchids and Kew Science’s expertise, and why you should think twice about falling asleep under a walnut tree (they cunningly secrete chemicals to poison nearby plants).

The exhibition has a star exhibit, with the excavated oak tree having been featured on the BBC4 programme Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor.

Secret Structures’ opening was covered on BBC South East.

It is open until March 2018, for more information see Wakehurst’s website.  

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KCA in China!

April 7, 2017

We’re delighted to announce that we’re working on a project for the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

Our work centres around the development of four themed programming spaces within the Museum. The Shanghai Museum was opened in 2001 and has gone on to become one of China’s most visited modern museums.

We started been working on the project in January and have been busy developing the themed programming spaces and 68 hours of activities for a range of different audience groups. The project is due for completion in May.

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A Visit to the Design Museum

February 28, 2017

The new Design Museum opened its doors at the end of last year at its new location in Kensington, at the site of the old Commonwealth Institute.

The Commonwealth Institute was built in 1962 and famed for its striking design. It closed in 2004 and after an £80 million redevelopment, the building is reopened and repurposed as the Design Museum- complete with the original parabolic roof.

KCA recently went on a trip to check out it out.

The Museum’s atrium is a light and welcoming space, contributed to by the informal seating area created on the wide stairs leading visitors up into the exhibition spaces. 

We checked out ‘Designer Maker User’, the Museum’s first ever permanent and free display. The gallery charts the interconnectedness of the three roles: designer, maker and user. Designer explores the ways in which designers’ thought processes inform projects, and includes a scale model of the new London underground train, British road signs and anglepoise lamps. Maker explores the evolution of manufacturing- from everyday objects, such as tennis balls, to novel and bespoke items, like the 2012 Olympic torch. In User the focus is placed on the interaction between people and brands that have come to define the modern world. This includes a display of Apple and Sony products- highlighting the relative obsolescence of the Walkman in 2017 and comparative gawkiness of early iPods.

The gallery also includes a collection of 200 objects suggested by people as their most important object from over 25 countries. The display is diverse and includes a IKEA blue bag, pair of jeans, £5 banknote and a plastic garden chair. The Museum describes it as a demonstration of the intimate relationships we have with everyday objects that shape our lives.

Towards the end of our visit Cat (who previously lived in Japan) became reacquainted with an old friend- Paro, a Japanese therapeutic robot baby seal. Designed by Takanori Dhibata to be very cute and have a calming effect, Paro responds to petting and used in hospitals and nursing homes to elicit an emotional response from patients and residents. Creating benefits similar to those seen with animals-assisted therapy. Paro was indeed very cute and responded to our petting, soon winning over the rest of the KCA team.

Visit the Design Museum’s website to find out more.

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Review of Crick Exhibition

December 12, 2016

How do we look?, the exhibition we designed for the Francis Crick Institute, has been reviewed in the Londonist.

How do we look? is the Crick’s first public exhibition and explores the what, why and how of twelve Crick scientists’ research. The review described the exhibition as ‘small, but powerful and informative’ and discusses how the researchers’ written and audio commentary ‘gives a more intimate, personal glimpse into the passion and enthusiasm of the individuals, too.’

Read the full review here.

How do we look? is on until 4th February.

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Explore Esplora

October 19, 2016

Esplora, Malta’s first interactive science centre, opens its doors to the public next week, putting training by KCA into practice.

Malta’s first interactive science centre, Esplora, will open its doors to the public next week. We’ve been involved in this exciting project since 2013, when we led training for the centre’s management team.

The training took place in Malta and at London’s Science Museum and Techniquest, Cardiff. It involved a highly interactive and focused programme of modules tailored directly to the needs of Esplora and its staff, providing a comprehensive insight into the theory and practice of developing, delivering and implementing science centres, exhibitions and staff skillsets. Read more about it here.

We worked with Esplora again in 2015 to deliver the text strategy for all graphics, exhibit labels and multimedia in the science centre.

Congratulations and good luck to the Esplora team from all at KCA. We look forward to visiting soon!

See more at http://esplora.org.mt

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Esplora: Image from AM2 

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Esplora’s main exhibition building. Image from Esplora

 

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Scratching the Surface

September 14, 2016

Training sessions work best when there is a dialogue. Yesterday Gaetan and Anthony trained 11 scientists working in humanitarian demining.  The trainers came away with much more than they expected and plenty to think about.

KCA is expanding its training offer and our clients include a rich mix of museum professionals, scientists, academics and designers amongst others.  But, we certainly didn’t expect to welcome a humanitarian demining experts, or a landmine clearing charity founded by Sir Bobby Moore as clients/onto our books?..….

Anthony explains more…..

We were approached by King’s College London to run public engagement training for a group of research scientists, fundraisers and engineers who work in demining war zones. We were asked to help them communicate their important work to the public and alert people to the terrible and ongoing consequences of landmines.

Using a mixture of case histories, best practice and discussion, Gaetan and I looked at the scope and history of science communication and engagement with examples from festivals, museum and large scale events like the ‘Big Bang Fair’. The morning sessions went well and saw  the trainees presenting their work and facing the video camera, receiving careful guidance and feedback from us.

However, it was after lunch that we uncovered the real story whilst the group were discussing what is second nature to them:   landmines and IEDs (improvised explosive devices).  The group shared shocking facts with us, which revealed their incredible dedication and highlighted the importance of their  work in fully clearing mined areas (the definition of humanitarian as opposed to military clearing), and in developing the technologies that will make both the military and civilians in war zones safer in fields, playgrounds, schools, roads and everywhere else they tread daily.

What did we find out ?

  • There are approximately 110 million landmines primed around the world
  • They are indiscriminate weapons, designed to maim and seriously injury rather than kill
  • Some land mines are made to look like children’s toys
  • Some land mines look like drink bottles
  • Some land mines are only triggered when groups of people have passed overhead, causing maximum damage

 

Mine prodder

Water bottle land mine

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Mine prodder

Physically holding the mines, and the metal prodders that are used in the detection in the field felt incredibly poignant after learning about  the wider context – and our role in helping to raise awareness of this work was suddenly much sharper in focus.

For the trainees their public engagement task will be of immense importance. Some of the group will eventually take their public engagement skills out to areas around the world affected by mines, and use these skills to help make the case for implementing their new non-contact radar technology to locals, reducing the need for physical medal prodders and clearing mined areas faster and more safely.

For more details lookup

http://www.findabetterway.org.uk

 

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Developing new family resources with the Qatar Museum’s Authority

April 9, 2016

We’re been getting crafty recently, working with the Qatar Museum’s Family and Schools Programmes team to interpret objects, stories and ideas into sensory resources. The first results will be tested with Qatari families at Mathaf between 14th and 26th April – so more news on this marvellous project soon!

Inspecting blanket 1

 

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Brain Zone opens at the Centre for Life

April 1, 2016

WP_20160325_16_19_19_ProWe are delighted to see the new ‘Brain Zone’ Exhibition open at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle, UK. We worked in close collaboration with the team at Paragon Creative and the client team to develop the 2d and 3d design for the exhibition. A herculean effort by all involved, the exhibition was finished in about six months from concept through to opening.

‘Brain Zone’ explores the brain and how it functions, the senses and perception, learning and adaptation, emotions, behaviour, awareness and consciousness.

This interactive journey into our most complex organ is supported by the Wellcome Trust and was opened last weekend.

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Based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, the International Centre for Life is home to almost 600 people from 35 countries: researchers, doctors and nurses who work alongside people in the fields of education, public engagement and business. The Life Science Centre sits at the heart, attracting around 250,000 visitors annually. Life’s public engagement programme attracts a broad audience for exhibitions and special events, and the education team deliver the biggest schools’ science workshop programme in any European museum or science centre.12919079_10156088245486980_1290347145_n

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KCA’s Explosive Trip Away

January 29, 2016

Two members of the team from KCA were in Riyadh and Khobar last week.

Fran Scott, who stars in Dick and Dom’s Absolute Genius on CBBC was training the Mishkat team in the explosive science show she has written for this term. The Energy Action show features many bangs and booms using hydrogen, ethanol and compressed air to describe how energy is transferred and used in the generation of electricity. The training was a great success and we all look forward to the new show in front of teenage audiences.

Anthony R travelled to Khobar to see the progress on  the new Energy Exhibit at Aramco, and to help advise and write training packages and operational procedures. The exhibition looks exciting, dynamic and the new floor teams being shown around were equally excited. We also met colleagues from the Science Museum in Houston who are collaborating on the project, particularly on the workshops for students.

Here are some images on Fran and the team in action!

Fran demonstrates a spinning steam powered coke can.

Fran demonstrates a spinning steam powered coke can.

 

The amazing elephant toothpaste explodes in a chemical reaction and is recorded on a heat camera.

The amazing elephant toothpaste explodes in a chemical reaction and is recorded on a heat camera.

 

Here comes the science bit.

Here comes the science bit.

 

Two trainees learning the balloon explosion. Guess what happens next?

Two trainees learning the balloon explosion. Guess what happens next?

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