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Coast at Greenwich: Coast roadshows

Updated Tuesday 20th November 2007

Listen to this extract where Emily Unell of The Open University reports on how the 2007 Coast Roadshows have been received.

As part of the 2007 series of Coast, The Open University and Crown Estates came together to organise a range of events around the country, the final event being held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.


Copyright The Open University


My name is Emily Unell. I'm the Science Outreach Project Manager for a project called Blast at the Open University, and I run science outreach projects, activities, face-to-face events, online things, which are linked to the broadcasts that we make with the BBC. So Coast, for example, Rough Science activities we've done in the past, lots and lots of future exciting projects.

Now this is the last event in the Coast Roadshow so how’s it all gone?

It’s gone really well, really well. We've been to eight locations around the country. We have spoken to hundreds of people. And we've done boatbuilding, we've done windmill workshops, we've done panel discussions, we've had screenings of Coast all over the place, so it’s been great, it’s been really fun. Really hard work, because we've done it over pretty much eight weeks, so I'm completely exhausted and I want a week off work, but besides that it’s been really fun.

What it that you're hoping that the participants will be taking away from events like this?

Really, what we really wanted to do was to get people to think a little bit more about their coast, and we realised that Coast has been such a brilliant programme, it’s been so good for people to see their local coast and to hear stories about it, hear about the science and the history, and the geography and the geology, and everything. And we thought, well, what a good way to get people in to think about their coast, to get involved with their coast, and also for children to do activities based on the coast. So, like I said, we've done the boat making, we've done windmills, which are related obviously to the big ones that you get on the shoreline.

So really just making people more aware of it, I think has been brilliant, and it has worked for a lot of people, a lot of people have come to something that ordinarily they wouldn’t have come to. Just getting the balance right between having activities for families, so getting really young kids and also their parents involved, but also activities just for adults as well so that they don’t feel excluded and that they feel that they can do something as well is really important.

I was here just to... partly to oversee what's happened, because I've been organising all of these events, but also to see the outcome of it and to see what happens, and actually to see people enjoying themselves and to read the feedback forms, and all of that. So it’s partly just nice for me to see what happens when you organise something. And you learn an awful lot from people’s responses, and you can learn to adapt your events to how people have taken part in them or not, so I think just being here is really helpful.

And out of all the roadshows, any place, any particular event, a favourite?

I've liked all of the places that we've been to. I have to say that, I'm being diplomatic, of course, but The National Maritime Museum was a great venue, and going to a national venue is always brilliant. But I really liked The Deep in Hull, that’s a really great place, and it’s somewhere where everyone goes to it.

And also the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth, which is a lovely museum; it’s set in an old herring smokehouse that was a really good event as well. But we've also been to places like the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, which is amazing, it’s got a massive aquarium with loads of fish and everything, so that was a really fun place. It was very serene for a couple of days, which is always good.

The series of events have been supported by the Open University, and also my project, Blast, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust, but we also got special project funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of the Your Heritage Grants, which was great. But we've also had loads of support from all the venues that we've been to, and also the BBC for allowing us to do screenings, they were really helpful as well.


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