UCL Engineering to provide childcare at UK technology festival

4 August 2014

Electromagnetic Field, the camping festival for people with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making, will offer free childcare thanks to sponsorship from UCL. The children’s section, named ‘Nanotechs’, will provide a crèche, freeform creative play space, and drop in workshops for young people and their carers throughout the festival, from the 29th to the 31st of August.

The university is the first in Europe to have an open access workshop, the UCL MakeSpace, onsite, and has been involved with the making festival from the beginning. UCL Engineering offers this year’s sponsorship to enable greater participation in the knowledge-sharing event for families, as well as parents and guardians. Speakers and demonstrators from UCL Engineering will also contribute to the festival’s provision for adults, with talks on subjects from hydrogen generation to human error, and public engagement performances at the evening’s Geek Showoff.

A night shot of the camping festival, showing lit up arcade characters, a high powered radio mast, and marquees for tents.

Night shot of Electromagnetic Field festival in 2012. Photo by Russ Garrett, CC licensed BY-NC-SA

Childcare will be provided by Nipperbout, an Ofsted Registered mobile childcare provider with ‘Outstanding’ Inspection reports. Supervised places will be available for up to 40 children between 10am and 8pm daily throughout the festival. Young people from 0-12 can play and learn with professionals while their family explore the site, pursuing science, art or just plain fun activities. In the next door workshop space, young people will be able to attend workshops on different subjects, from programming the UCL ‘Engduino’ to kite mapping or DNA analysis, for which UCL will provide resources and equipment free of charge.

Young people will also have their own family friendly Geek Showoff at lunch time, with researchers from UCL Engineering and festival participants sharing tales of mistakes, science and engineering suitable for all. In the evening an adult version of the popular science communication activity will be compered by UCL’s head of Public Engagement, Steve Cross.

Jonty Wareing, festival organizer, said:

“It’s a delight to work with a university that understands the mentality and values of our event, and the hacking and making community it serves. This enables us to welcome a more diverse selection of people, and fresh blood, to our community.”

Anthony Finkelstein, Dean of UCL Engineering, said

“UCL has a proud history of opening up education to all, and we hope to extend this by helping those with caring responsibilities participate in this stimulating grassroots learning environment. Our faculty believes in the value of hacking, making and exploring for oneself, and we’re delighted to support EMF Camp again.”

Tickets are still available for EMF and members of the UCL community are all invited to attend EMF. Calls for participation are still open, for those interested in proposing a talk or workshops.

Anyone from UCL interested in running or contributing to sessions for young people should contact Elpida Makrygiannis, 5-19 engagement coordinator for UCL Engineering.

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