Biggest Bang yet

Ella Rhodes reports on the British Psychological Society presence at the Big Bang Fair.

This year was the busiest yet for the British Psychological Society Stand at the Big Bang Fair. The Fair, which is one of the largest celebrations of science, technology, engineering and maths of its kind in Europe, brings together children and young people from across the UK to get hands-on with STEM.

The British Psychological Society stand hosted colleagues from Aston University, University of Derby, University of Nottingham, Staffordshire University and the University of Warwick, all delivering high-quality psychology demonstrations to thousands of children across the four days of the fair. Dr Liz Blagrove, from the University of Warwick, said: ‘It is always a privilege for Warwick Psychology to be involved with the BPS at the Big Bang Fair. So much passion and expertise in psychological science, coupled with the commitment to communicate this to the next generation of psychologists.’

The stand saw in excess of 10,000 individuals taking part in psychological demonstrations, run by our volunteers. Kevin Silber from the University of Derby recognised the benefit to his students: ‘Some of those who volunteer might start their shift quite timid and overwhelmed by the numbers of children passing though. However, they soon get involved and by the end of a few hours they are exuding confidence in what they are doing.’

Kelly Auty, Policy Advisor to the Society’s Education and Public Engagement Board, praised the universities that took part, highlighting that ‘co-ordinating over 70 volunteers to deliver the demonstrations over the course of the fair is no small feat, and our university partner leads put in an enormous amount of work to recruit and organise their staff and students to volunteer and to build on what they have to offer year on year. We owe the success of the BPS stand to them and they all do a great job communicating psychology to large numbers of people. We are all exhausted by the end of the Fair and we are just so grateful to our university partners for supporting our efforts to get psychology out there to children and young people and, just as importantly, their teachers and parents.’

The hard work all seemed worth it as Dr Roger Newport from the University of Nottingham, whose team demonstrated over 7000 illusions over the course of the fair, points out: ‘The BPS stand was by far the busiest stand as word of mouth spread and people arrived saying they had been told they simply had to come and see what we had to offer. To do this in an environment designed around what science has to offer feels like an incredible achievement.’

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