The Average Human exhibition aimed to inspire people to engage with biomedical research into how human health is affected by everyday behaviour such as sleep, nutrition and exercise. The project's overall ambition was to increase visitors' knowledge in these areas that profoundly affect our health and wellbeing.
To bring science to life in a way that is accessible to our target audience.
To engage a wide audience in the project.
To engage visitors with the biomedical science and create a fun and informative experience.
To engage a younger audience in science and inspire learning.
To disseminate science that is relevant, accurate and inspiring.
To ensure the project will continue to have a life after the main exhibition.
To engender a long lasting interest in biomedical science and inspire further learning.
To create a positive and energizing learning experience for all staff involved.
Summary of activity:
The Average Human was a multi-sensory installation taking science directly to a busy city centre cinema and exhibition complex. Visitors went on a journey of discovery into the daily nutrition, sleep and exercise habits of the average Britain. At its heart was an interactive exhibition including multi-sensory zones creating a vibrant hub for lively engagement into cutting edge biomedical science and exploring unexpected links between our everyday habits and wellbeing.
Visitors discovered pioneering research into the effect of exercise on the brain whilst doing yoga or riding an exercise bike, compared themselves to cut outs of the average man and woman and explored an interactive bedroom focusing on research from Professor Cappuccio of the WHO on how sleep links to diabetes, dementia and heart disease.
Animations and films were woven into the exhibition to bring the science to life. Trailers were shown in the cinema before all mainstream films.
The evaluation was a continuous process from project development to delivery.
A focus group with a diverse population was held at the start of the project to get opinions on proposed plans. These observations shaped the project.
The relevance and accuracy of scientific content was evaluated with guidance from the three scientists attached to the project. They approved all scripts, signage and fact sheets.
The number of visitors to the exhibition and cinema screenings was recorded. A visitor questionnaire was designed, which asked for feedback on various metrics including, accessibility, resonance, knowledge, enthusiasm, engagement, inspiration, enjoyment and impact on both a local and personal level.
Trained volunteers encouraged people to fill in questionnaires and elicited verbal feedback. They were asked to report on this verbally or in writing.
A final report collates all this information.
What went well:
1. We were delighted with both verbal feedback and visitor questionnaires, 90% of people were inspired to learn more about biomedical science.
2. 99% of people said they would like more science exhibitions like this in their local area.
3. Staff and volunteers all gave great feedback on their own experience of working on the exhibition, they felt that it helped them to develop and also learn more about science.
What was learned:
1. That it is of huge benefit to involve the local community right from the outset, we found this invaluable in shaping the project.
2. To allow enough time for design elements. This all turned out well in the end but would have been less stressful if we'd allowed more time.
3. It was invaluable to work closely with the Wellcome Trust and with the scientists attached to the project. It really helped the project to run smoothly and successfully.
Top tips and advice for others
1. Verbal feedback from visitors confirmed our suspicion that it was very important that this was a free entry exhibition. Many of our visitors rarely engage with science so free entry encouraged them to give it a try.
2. We used fact sheets to explore some of the more complex scientific research, allowing the main signage to be accessible to the widest possible audience.
3.Involve staff in the project as early as possible, their enthusiasm will be invaluable through-out.