NUI Galway and Croí na Gaillimhe Join Together to Bring Astronomy to the Community

The first art work from the Making Space intergenerational project. The image was created with single dots to create a structure which looks very like the spread of galaxies in the early universe.
May 17 2019 Posted: 11:56 IST

Astronomers from NUI Galway have been working with Croí na Gaillimhe on an intergenerational project involving an active retirement group and students from Our Lady’s College Galway. The project is part of a wider project, Making Space, celebrating 200 years of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Every Tuesday for the past three months the University has worked with a local artist Finbar McHugh who created new art works which demonstrate different scientific ideas. The programme included trips to the University and to Birr Castle where the latest astronomical observatory in Ireland, the i-Lofar Radio Observatory, is based. 

On Tuesday, 21 May, there will be a celebration of the event showcasing the work and the presentation of certificates. The event will be introduced by Professor Walter Gear, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, and the certificates will be presented by Professor Steve Millar from the Royal Astronomical Society. 

Croí na Gaillimhe will also mark the end of their Galway 2020 ‘Small Towns Big Ideas’ project, Mill Street Quilters by hosting a graduation ceremony in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway. The project brought together two groups, the sewing group at Croí na Gaillimhe and the intergenerational group Young Hearts, to create three quilts based on the Galway 2020 themes of Language, Landscape and Migration. Under experienced tutor Marcella Morgan, the Mill Street Quilters group met regularly and the quilts were hand sewn to encourage more intergenerational connections between the young and the old. This event is presented in partnership with the NUI Galway Physics Department.

Professor Andy Shearer, Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway, said: “Our intention with Making Space is to bring astronomy to communities which don’t normally take part in scientific outreach. We also wanted to explore different ways of communicating scientific ideas, can artists help scientists tell the public what they do? We were delighted to work with Croí na Gaillimhe to develop better links with community groups outside of the University.”

Loretta Needham, Manager of Croí na Gaillimhe, spoke about the importance of Making Space available to the community and the acknowledgement by NUI Galway and Our Lady’s College Galway of learning what is happening in places other than the class room, saying: “It is true to say that young and old participants have broadened their horizons. Community Education is what Croí na Gaillimhe is about, it is learning that promotes change and transformation, and promotes empowerment for those marginalised or oppressed. I would like to thank NUI Galway and RAS200 for extending the programme into the community and Galway 2020 for the quilting project.”


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