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  • Project contributors: Falkingham J, McGowan T, Edel A,

    This Project is part of the following research programme/s:

    Communication and Education


    In population research, important issues affecting every person's life are often hidden behind abstract figures like the number of births, the mortality rate or net migration. So while the challenge of an ageing society is recognised by the public, its complexity is less well understood.

    This project developed and adapted a hands-on exhibition that was initially created by a team at the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science in Germany and Population Europe (of which the ESRC Centre for Population Change is a founding member). The exhibition builds a bridge between experts with specialised knowledge and the broader public, not only by providing information but also by encouraging interactive participation of the audience. In doing so the exhibition brings the importance of holistic thinking about ageing to the forefront.

    To accompany the exhibition a set of free educational resources has been developed, making the research accessible to a younger audience and emphasising the relevance of demographic research to this generation. Liaising with educational experts including Education Scotland, Princes Trust Wales and teachers ensures the resources compliment the National Curriculum and are effective for schools and youth groups. The teaching materials can be used in conjunction with a guided tour of the exhibition by pupils, or as standalone classroom lesson.

    To engage with decision makers, private-view events including talks from academics and policy makers are delivered at each tour location. These offer policy makers and practitioners the opportunity to speak to research leads and explore further details of the exhibition content.

    The exhibition has so far toured a variety of venues in 7 cities, ranging from shopping centres to children's science museums, to ensure the research reaches audiences that do not usually engage with academic research. The project is ongoing with tours throughout Europe coming soon.

    A summary of the project and free downloadable educational resources is available on the project website