Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Cheltenham Festival of Science

No prizes for guessing what this post is about – last week we took a sample of the Real World Design exhibition to the Cheltenham Festival of Science as a sneak preview for them and a test run for us. Needless to say, this was a fantastic opportunity, afforded to us by some great work in the Ergonomics Society office, which we grabbed with both hands.

Cheltenham is one of the biggest science festivals in the UK, and always attracts some star names – we caught a glimpse of Robert Winston floating about; also in attendance and giving lectures were the likes of Richard Hammond, Carol Vorderman, and Alice Roberts (though I'm personally disappointed I didn't bump into her).

The preview exhibit we took was related to the ergonomics of the Sky TV remote control, which is the most advanced piece of work we currently have on the exhibition project. Fergus Bisset, the design researcher on the project, did a stellar job of putting together an innovative stand at short notice, complete with interactive elements. Fergus also carried the can for the whole duration of the festival, assisted on different days by staff and members of the Ergonomics Society, who kindly gave up their time to help out (pictured right is Dave O’Neill, Chief Executive of the Ergonomics Society). Our thanks go out to all, it was an enormous help and above and beyond the call of duty.

All in all I think we can say it was a successful week – just getting the exhibit into Cheltenham was an achievement in itself! But we also had a lot of interest from children and adults alike, helped no end by being on the EPSRC’s ‘Impact Trail’, so the children were encouraged to come and see us for an answer in their question booklet. It’s also been a learning experience in taking things forward to the big exhibition in November – which I know will come round sooner than we think.

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