Harwell Campus helps save the nation’s imagination
The results of a UK-wide initiative encouraging children to use their imagination and express their visions of space, through art, came to fruition during World Space Week on October 9th at London’s Piccadilly Circus, after a longitudinal study by NASA, showed imagination in freefall among young people.
NASA astronauts Nicole Stott, Susan Kilrain and UK Astronaut, ESA Astronaut Tim Peake and storied science communicator Brian Cox, in partnership with Harwell Campus and with the support of Piccadilly Lights, unveiled a giant art mosaic, created with hundreds of entries from the Rise Together competition, which aimed to champion imagination by asking children to create an artwork of what space means to them.
The initiative was inspired by NASA’s longitudinal study of creative potential, which found that out of 1,600 4- and 5-year-olds, 98 percent scored at “creative genius” level. Five years later, only 30 percent of the same group of children scored at the same level, and again, five years later, only 12 percent.
“In order for us to solve our greatest planetary challenges, we need to encourage everyone to use their whole brains – to bring all of their talents to bear”, stated Nicole Stott, Artist and NASA Astronaut. “The opportunity to fly in space, and to paint with watercolors while I was there, gave me a better understanding of just how powerful the inspiration of space exploration is. Combine that with the fact that everything we’re doing in space is ultimately about improving life on Earth, and with the opportunity to express even the most complex ideas creatively, we all have the opportunity to rise together as crewmates here on Spaceship Earth”.
The World Economic Forum estimates that 65 percent of today’s primary school children will end up in roles that don’t exist yet, so it’s crucial to nurture humanity’s ability to imagine new innovations and develop scientific breakthroughs to ensure we’re able to meet future global challenges.
“Creativity is the cornerstone of innovation,” stated Christina Korp, President of Purpose Entertainment. “While technical skills are of course fundamental, creativity is hugely important for envisioning the unimaginable. We aim to ignite that creative spark in children through the awe of space exploration, empowering them to become tomorrow’s innovators, particularly those who may have felt excluded from future space activities. Every job that exists on Earth will be needed in space.”
Stuart Grant CEO at Harwell Campus added: “Our scientific and research community at Harwell is at the leading edge of science, developing solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. We understand that true progress in science requires not just knowledge, but also the need to think differently. That’s why we’re committed to fostering creativity as it’s through creativity that we unlock the future of scientific advancement.”
The art initiative is a highlight of the space-themed events taking place at Harwell Campus during World Space Week. On Harwell Space Day (October 10), 300 local schoolchildren will engage in interactive space-related activities at the campus. This will be followed by the ‘RISE TOGETHER: Solutions Summit’ on October 11, coinciding with the International Day of the Girl. The summit aims to foster inclusivity in the space sector and offers a platform for a diverse audience to explore career opportunities at Harwell Campus. Women leaders from Harwell will join panels featuring other influential women in space and tech, including NASA astronauts Nicole Stott and Susan Kilrain, as well as ESA UK astronaut candidate Meganne Christian.
Produced by Christina Korp and her firm, Purpose Entertainment, for Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, the Rise Together campaign and events seek to amplify public awareness of Harwell’s groundbreaking work and to steer individuals toward fulfilling careers in the space sector, irrespective of their skill level. The Rise Together theme aligns with the UK’s contributions to future lunar missions through NASA and ESA’s Artemis Program.
The content for the 9th October launch video and mosaic was created by A-Blok Interactive, a creative studio based in Cologne, Germany that creates interactive experiences that combine art and technological innovation. A-Blok is a long-term partner of Nicole Stott’s Space for Art Foundation.