Following its successful launch in Northumberland, a family-friendly interactive exhibition based on the North East’s experience of coronavirus is heading to St Nicholas’ Cathedral in Newcastle.

Created by students at Duke’s Secondary School in Ashington (Part of Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust), the ‘Pan@NCEA’ project combines elements of the STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to tell the story of the pandemic through a series of fun, hands-on experiments and collections of student’s work.

Perfect for the whole family to enjoy, the exhibition explores what it’s been like for people in our communities to ‘live through history’, drawing on the real life experiences of pupils from Duke’s, as well as individuals from around the world.

The whole school has been involved in aspects of the project, from taking part in activities during science lessons and tutor time to support the conceptual research, to the construction of the exhibition itself.

Visitors to the exhibition while it was in situ at Newbiggin Maritime Centre were impressed by the creativity of the exhibition and the candid way in which students had expressed their thoughts and feelings about the pandemic.

During a visit to the exhibition, Councillor Tom Roll from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Town Council, commented:

“It’s been really interesting to gain an insight into what the pandemic has really been like for our young people. Lockdown was hard for everyone, but it’s our youngest citizens who have probably suffered the most – missing out on school and spending time with their friends. It’s great that they’ve had an opportunity to express how everything that has happened has made them feel through this project.”

Dr Jodi Harrison, Academic Mentor at Duke’s Secondary School, has led on the project for the students, she said:

“Coronavirus has been the single biggest challenge that many of our young people have ever had to face. To help pupils to fully understand the pandemic, we wanted to give them an opportunity to understand some of the science behind the virus, as well as provide them with a creative outlet to express how the events of the past year have made them feel.

“The students worked incredibly hard, coming up with creative ways to demonstrate how viral infections spread and how things like vaccines and lateral flow tests work, as well as producing some wonderful pieces of creative writing which we felt it was important to share with the local community to help promote wider understanding of what we’ve been through and where we’re heading.

“After such a fantastic reception in Northumberland, we’re excited to now be taking the exhibition to Newcastle and we’d like to thank St Nicholas’ Cathedral for their support in making this possible.”

Comprising three large posters to visually represent the three scientific stages of the pandemic, audio recordings of students and contacts from around the world talking about their experiences of lockdown and a host of interactive activities including real-life X-Rays to show healthy lungs versus lungs infected by Covid-19, a smell test and an experiment to show how bacteria spreads using slime, the Pan@NCEA project will be on display at St Nicholas Cathedral between 30 September – 7 October 2021.

To find out more about the project, visit www.dukes@ncea.org.uk