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Reflecting photonics: reaching new audiences through new partnerships – IYL 2015 and the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show

Reflecting photonics: reaching new audiences through new partnerships – IYL 2015 and the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show
Reflecting photonics: reaching new audiences through new partnerships – IYL 2015 and the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show
The ‘Reflecting Photonics’ show garden was exhibited at the 2015 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show in Tatton Park, UK, to celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. Elks-Smith Garden Design alongside landscapers ‘Turf N’ Earth’ collaborated with researchers, marketing and outreach professionals from the University of Southampton to design, construct and exhibit a photonics-themed garden. The garden and supporting exhibition united science and art to reach new audiences – particularly family groups alongside other key influencers to the young – and showcased the world-leading research in optical fibers at the university in an accessible manner. Researchers and a publicity professional, funded by the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics, developed an integrated approach to the event’s public engagement and marketing. The overarching aim was to influence a positive change in the attitude of the garden visitors towards physics and photonics, with additional focus on promoting careers for women in STEM. The show garden won an RHS Gold Medal award and the coveted ‘People’s Choice Award’ for the best large garden. The project subsequently won the South East England Physics Network Public Engagement Innovation Project Award. Approximately 80,000 visitors saw the garden, with a further three million television viewers on a popular British gardening show. There were also over 75,400 Tweet impressions on social media. This paper discusses the project aims, explores the design of the garden and its relationship with the research, describes the work of the public engagement team, and outlines the impact of the event.
Posner, Matthew T.
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John, Pearl V.
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Standen, Deanna
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Wheeler, Natalie V.
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Van Putten, Lieke D.
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Soper, Nathan
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Parsonage, Tina L.
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Wong, Nicholas H.L.
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Brambilla, Gilberto
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Posner, Matthew T.
884b2318-83c1-4f8a-8d36-a2566b8766cb
John, Pearl V.
7e33c78a-14dd-4f15-8b5f-3de74b2b0eb9
Standen, Deanna
2e62fcae-04df-4846-83a1-6c2c87ae8da5
Wheeler, Natalie V.
0fd34178-a77b-4c71-a3a6-86a1f634f1a0
Van Putten, Lieke D.
43b57f93-cf02-4dca-bda3-c5550ce3c911
Soper, Nathan
91a18ff0-58df-4cfe-b454-4b23d7f109a5
Parsonage, Tina L.
652160d8-72de-4846-a644-e9de62276706
Wong, Nicholas H.L.
f9721f60-e45a-4f2b-9803-023d012fc743
Brambilla, Gilberto
815d9712-62c7-47d1-8860-9451a363a6c8

Posner, Matthew T., John, Pearl V., Standen, Deanna, Wheeler, Natalie V., Van Putten, Lieke D., Soper, Nathan, Parsonage, Tina L., Wong, Nicholas H.L. and Brambilla, Gilberto (2016) Reflecting photonics: reaching new audiences through new partnerships – IYL 2015 and the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show. SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications Symposium (9946), Optics Education and Outreach IV, United States. 14 pp . (doi:10.1117/12.2236977).

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

The ‘Reflecting Photonics’ show garden was exhibited at the 2015 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show in Tatton Park, UK, to celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. Elks-Smith Garden Design alongside landscapers ‘Turf N’ Earth’ collaborated with researchers, marketing and outreach professionals from the University of Southampton to design, construct and exhibit a photonics-themed garden. The garden and supporting exhibition united science and art to reach new audiences – particularly family groups alongside other key influencers to the young – and showcased the world-leading research in optical fibers at the university in an accessible manner. Researchers and a publicity professional, funded by the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics, developed an integrated approach to the event’s public engagement and marketing. The overarching aim was to influence a positive change in the attitude of the garden visitors towards physics and photonics, with additional focus on promoting careers for women in STEM. The show garden won an RHS Gold Medal award and the coveted ‘People’s Choice Award’ for the best large garden. The project subsequently won the South East England Physics Network Public Engagement Innovation Project Award. Approximately 80,000 visitors saw the garden, with a further three million television viewers on a popular British gardening show. There were also over 75,400 Tweet impressions on social media. This paper discusses the project aims, explores the design of the garden and its relationship with the research, describes the work of the public engagement team, and outlines the impact of the event.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 27 April 2016
Published date: 27 September 2016
Additional Information: Paper: 994603
Venue - Dates: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications Symposium (9946), Optics Education and Outreach IV, United States, 2016-09-27
Organisations: Optoelectronics Research Centre

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 401870
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/401870
PURE UUID: c1026afa-a9fd-4bcf-a8dc-6d1649ae3ff7
ORCID for Matthew T. Posner: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4439-9135
ORCID for Natalie V. Wheeler: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1265-9510
ORCID for Lieke D. Van Putten: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4428-1727
ORCID for Nicholas H.L. Wong: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1743-3959

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Oct 2016 09:13
Last modified: 06 Oct 2018 00:32

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