Rochdale Science Extravaganza 2023

24 March 2023

Rochdale Science Extravaganza 2023

A science extravaganza aims to shine a spotlight on climate change and make science more accessible to diverse communities. Attended by more than 1,400 at Number One Riverside last weekend, the event featured a number of science stalls and activities, including a planetarium, all with the aim of bringing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to ethnic minorities.

It also had a focus on climate change, with keynote speakers from Manchester Metropolitan University and community leaders.

Mohammed Rahman, founding director of Rochdale Science Initiative community interest company, which organised the extravaganza, said the event was co-designed with young people from the Bangladesh Association & Community Project (BACP)

“It was amazing,” added Mohammed of the event. “Climate change activism has been run by the upper class and white people. We co-designed this with the amazing young people that we work with to create our own climate change movement that’s inclusive to everyone, and we can share our voices and concerns.

“We want to raise the next generation of scientists from Rochdale. The feedback has been very positive. We thoroughly loved it. It’s a case of how do we make it bigger in 2024.”

Mohammed said he became interested in science after taking his highly-gifted son to a number of science festivals and museums.

He said his son pointed out that there were few people from the same South Asian background as him at the events.

In 2017, Mohammed then began running STEM sessions for young people in central Rochdale, eventually forming the Science Intiative CIC in 2019, which now has five directors.

Mohammed added: “Our passion is serving our community. None of us have a research background, but that works to our advantage as that allows us to look at STEM engagement with a fresh perspective.

“Our aim is to make STEM more accessible for ethnic minorities and those that are socially and economically disadvantaged. “We believe that bringing science into our communities is engaging for minorities and the extravaganza was a prime example of what we can achieve. The audience was diverse, and that was our ambition, so it was great to see.”

Mohammed also said the next aim for his initiative is to find a permanent home to offer STEM activities to young people and adults in Rochdale seven days a week.

He also wanted to thank the funders and supporters of the Extravaganza including: The Ogden Trust, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Rochdale Borough Council, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Sun Space Art, UK Research and Innovation, Science and Technology Facilities Council and Action Together.