On Thursday, 12 May the Widening Participation hosted the new cohort of Year 9 Queen’s Academy participants. Over 80 pupils from 17 schools took part in an interactive campus tour and attended workshops provided by David Grant, Senior Lecturers Creative Arts and Dr Jonathan Cole Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
David provided an interactive workshop for the Year 9 pupils as part of the Queen’s Junior Academy in collaboration with the Queen’s University SUPI (Schools University Partnership Initiative) Project. The workshop took place in the Council Chamber at Queen’s University and included role-playing, improvisation and a variety of dramatic techniques to gain pupils’ attention. David encouraged students to consider time, space, mood and tension, and in doing so challenged them to think about issues ranging from global warming to the Syrian refugee crisis. This thought-provoking workshop was well-received by pupils and teachers, and showed that current issues can be introduced to young people through the use of drama based teaching techniques.
David commented, “Getting teenagers to huddle together on large sheets of paper and pretend they are islands in danger of being swamped with sea-water may seem an unusual way of addressing human rights issues, but SUPI encourages and facilitates these kind of imaginative interactions between researchers in different disciplines – in this case between myself in drama and colleagues concerned with migration law. It is great way to challenge all our assumptions about our disciplines as well as engaging the interest of current pupils, some of whom may be the interdisciplinary researchers of the future!”
The group also visited the Ashby building where Dr Cole helped the Year 9 pupils learn about engineering through a challenge to design and test a boat made from tinfoil and card. Jonathan commented, “We look forward to working with these potential engineers in the future”. Ashfield Boys’ School were crowned the winners of the challenge designing the boat which carried the most mass. Thanks also goes to Cara, Imelda, Troy, John and Peter from the School for their help in making the day a success.