Published On: 9th November, 2023

Dynamic Earth’s community partnership with Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) continued for this year’s World Space Week, with a visit from our resident astronomers and inflatable planetarium.

ECHC’s vision of ‘child first, patient second’ is at the heart of everything they do, believing nothing should get in the way of being a child. They help seriously ill babies, children and young people by supporting their medical care, mental health and family’s wellbeing. Their daily arts and activities programme helps children and young people to have a positive healthcare journey.

Our community programme provides co-created experiences that best meet the interests, desires and needs of our community partners, with our teams working with ECHC to identify barriers which may prevent participation and design learning experiences that are meaningful and fun.

Throughout our partnership with ECHC, our Community Learning & Engagement team visited children and their families on the wards with a variety of hands-on activities, including meteorite handling and taking a look at some of the breath-taking images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). This culminated with an invitation to join our resident astronomers for a journey across the solar system in our planetarium with evening performances of the show “You Are Here”, where we saw the boundaries of human exploration and followed in the footsteps of some very special space missions.

Tonya McMullan, from Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity said, The event with Dynamic Earth was brilliant, it was popular with families and I had lovely conversations with families afterwards about their interest in space and awe at the experience. The narrative and imagery was well thought through and related to Edinburgh which made it feel unique. It was a good segway into talking to people about our ECHC Space Academy project. Alastair and James were able to build up a rapport with families while they were waiting to enter the planetarium and were very accommodating with the needs of everyone.”

Science engagement should be available to all. However, in hospital children lose access to their day-to-day educational settings and opportunities to visit science centres. We are delighted that our activities have been so well received at the Royal Hospital for Children & Young People (EHCYP), with our support for their daily arts and activities programme helping to make young people’s healthcare journeys that little bit more positive. Importantly, we are removing the physical barriers that would prevent young people in hospital from improving their science capital.

It has been a pleasure for our teams to meet the children and their families on the wards and those who attended our planetarium shows, with the partnership being a great success. We look forward to building on the strong relationship we have between our two charities and developing our ideas further for future events.