The Our Place in Space story so far... | Our Place In Space
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Press 23 November, 2022

The Our Place in Space story so far...

Are you one of the millions of people who has engaged with the project this year?

We've been on an astronomical adventure during 2022 bringing Our Place in Space to cities across the UK and to participants across the world.

And the good news is, with one more trail location to come in 2023, we're not finished yet. Join us at the Ulster Transport Museum and North Down Coastal Path from February 2023 for a special homecoming.


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Organisers behind Our Place in Space, the Northern Ireland flagship commission of UNBOXED: Creativity, have revealed that the epic 10km, scale model of the solar system, designed by award-winning artist Oliver Jeffers with astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt, has attracted live audiences of over 1 million since it first launched in Derry~Londonderry, earlier this year.

Project producers Nerve Centre revealed the earth-shattering figures as Our Place in Space wraps up its latest installation in Liverpool following successful visits to Belfast and Cambridge.

The figures have been released as part of wider data setting out the impact of UNBOXED. Designed to be accessible and inclusive to all, UNBOXED brought people together through a mix of live events, digital and broadcast content and reached a combined audience of over 18 million across its 10 commissions.

While the announcement marks the end of other UNBOXED live events, Our Place in Space will continue into 2023 when it will make a much-anticipated homecoming to Northern Ireland. Audiences will have the chance to catch the installation at the Ulster Transport Museum and North Down coastal path when it opens in February.

“Our Place in Space has been a fantastic collaboration of STEAM partners from Northern Ireland, and we have been overwhelmed with the response to the project. The sculpture trail has enjoyed a fantastic reception across the various locations, so much so that we had to delay our return to Northern Ireland so we could bring the installation to Liverpool. The figures that the project has generated in terms of audience shows the appetite that exists for collaborations of this nature – the trail provided people with the opportunity to experience the solar system in Oliver Jeffers’ unique style, and get involved in exciting educational activities and events.”

David Lewis, Executive Producer at the Nerve Centre

In the seven months since it launched, Our Place in Space set a new Guinness World Record for the most people dressed as an astronaut (716) while a series of wide-ranging live events and talks featured award-winning artists, a NASA astronaut, a Nobel Prize winner, actor Jamie Dornan and the late Baroness Blood, and was attended by 156,000 people.

In addition, the augmented reality app created to support the trail or be used as a standalone experience has been downloaded in over 150 countries worldwide.

In total 28,000 students and 2,200 teachers participated in digital creativity workshops led by Nerve Centre, giving young people new digital skills. 5 new learning resources were produced with the support of astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt, exploring the universe and our place within it.

UNBOXED has contributed to the UK’s creative landscape through investment in research and innovation and by supporting more than 6,000 employment and paid development opportunities. The programme has explored new ideas through a unique cross-sector collaborative approach to programming that featured funded research and development during the pandemic, supporting many creative organisations and freelancers through that period.

“From the outset, UNBOXED has invested in new collaboration between organisations and individuals that drew on the creative innovation within science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as the arts. It has enabled thousands of creative minds to experiment and work together on major creative projects, producing a groundbreaking programme designed to explore new ideas. I am proud that through UNBOXED, we have been able to create joyful memories for millions of people in communities across the UK.”

Phil Batty, Executive Director, UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK

"I am delighted that we are able to demonstrate the significant impact of the work of thousands who created a festival enjoyed by millions. The scale and ambition of UNBOXED underlines the breadth of the creative engagement in the population of the UK and demonstrates the value and power of creativity to transform how we live together and understand each other.

“The legacy of this programme of thousands of events and activities in 107 places, broadcast across the UK and reaching 85 countries will be wide-reaching, from permanent and touring installations for future public entertainment, to improvements in learning through scientific research and teaching resources. The personal impact on the thousands of young people who have been involved in UNBOXED has been inspirational. UNBOXED is proud of the strong part it has played in the COVID recovery of the UK.”

Dame Vikki Heywood DBE, Chair of Board, UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK

"Northern Ireland has been fortunate to have a number of the UNBOXED commissions visit our shores over the past year. Collaborations such as our own Our Place in Space, show what can be achieved when our creative, science, technology and art sectors work together. The legacy of this festival will benefit local communities for years to come."

Department for Communities Permanent Secretary, Colum Boyle

A final evaluation of the Unboxed programme is being undertaken by KPMG on behalf of all four governments and the four delivery agencies, which will be published in early 2023.