Social Steam Engine Science and Wellbeing Workshops

Project aims:

This project was supported by an IOP public engagement grant.” We aimed to make physics accessible to the most vulnerable in our society who are excluded from learning about and enjoying physics.


Specifically we targeted service users of social care services and their carers, living in Wolverhampton in a fun and innovative way to explore the role of non –medical, non -biological and non -psychological science in improving individual and community wellbeing.

Summary of activity:

Initially using art and craft materials we conducted workshops and around colour gravity astronomy and motion. These later progressed into rebuilding a broken nitro car and learning how it worked. Towards the end of the programme we were looking at how cameras worked and to eventually make films of our work.

Evaluation approach:

Participants were asked to answer ‘What colour means to me:’ and photographed their work. We used a tool called ‘Recovery Star’ which is a 10 point ranking system of self-evaluation.

What went well:

1. The genuine support and interest we got from the community to trial these science activities for our client group.

2. The men really got into it. They made lasting friendships and they had something tangible to show for their time.

3. The sessions will continue in 2015 as our efforts being recognised has attracted funding for them to continue.

What was learned:

1. Ask for help when you need it as there isn't a shortage of help on hand

2. All participants are different and you need a tailored response.

3. Don’t get preoccupied with the numbers. If the activity is good enough people will come.

Top tips and advice for others

1.Peer support groups wanting to try different activities should seriously consider using physics and science. It brings people together.

2.Make sure you have an IT savvy person to help do the promotional material. It will save a lot of time and headaches. 3. Always have a back-up scientist too. People fall ill!

About this project


Project type:

, ,

Started (approximately):

April 2014

Ended: (approximately)

October 2014

Tags for this project:

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About the contributor

Hiran Patel
Social Steam Engine Community Association

We are a peer support group based in Wolverhampton. We befriend/mentor people going through mental distress. Some of our members are science graduates and we have been using our knowledge to organise …

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