Set up ‘Community Curiosity Labs’

Rick Hall, Ignite! Founder

Children are innately curious and creative; it is how they make sense of their world. If offered the opportunity many adults would express their curiosity about the rapid changes and new discoveries in the realms of science and technology. Communities come together around a range of cultural activities – book clubs, community choirs, cheer leading; and many of these activities cross ‘subject boundaries’. In the 18th and 19th centuries people of means formed amateur societies for innovation, discovery and science. Some of these survived into learned institutions and continue to provoke debate and research.

Now we have an opportunity to revive community curiosity and to find new settings for ‘citizen science’ where research, experiment and investigations are guided by participants’ questions and appetite for understanding. And where better than libraries? Many branch libraries are promoting themselves as centres for exchanging knowledge and introducing new information technologies. ‘Community Curiosity Labs’ where people can explore the questions that matter to them might be a welcome extension of their services. We may wish to draw on the expertise and knowledge of latest developments from Scientists in Residence to deliver them, but that might also become a rather appealing opportunity for researchers in labs.

Rick Hall is the founder of Ignite! which encourages children, families and local communities to be the architects of their own learning, through creativity and curiosity.

In 2016, Rick traveled to India and South Korea on a Churchill Fellow to investigate creativity and STEM education, and has set up projects in UK, Ghana and Finland where children learn to be scientists (Lab_13).

Check out more of the 100 ideas