Brining Astronomy to the Wider Community

Over the past twenty years Pro.f Andy Shearer has been involved in a number of public engagement and outreach events the main thrust of my work has been to bring astronomy (and Physics) to a much wider community. Essentially using astronomy as vehicle to bring greater awareness of the work the department do in the University. Party of my thinking was to make the university more accessible and a place for everyone. To this end Andres helps organise the Centre for Astronomy Open Nights and in 2011 and 2012 ran the EDU’s Researchers Night programmes in Galway.

Since 2014 Andrew has led a project to develop a public engagement and science outreach centre for the university. Initially looking for funding from Science Foundation Ireland. The department is now looking for involvement within the Nun’s Island development project. In 2015 he carried out a detailed market and economic impact assessment of such a project.  This work was in cooperation with the City Museum.

Andy Shearer Case Study Pic
Wall painting in Galway: The pictures show part of the work in the Young Hearts programme with Croí na Gaillimhe involving wall painting (graffiti?) with the active retirement group and TY students. 

In 2016 Andrew was awarded £95,000 to promote astronomy to different community groups as part of the Royal Astronomical Society’s bi-centenary in 2020. So far this project, Making Space,  has worked with an intergenerational project  with Croí na Gaillimhe, which involves work an active retirement group and TY students to create astronomically themed art work. In July 2019 there was an Art exhibition in the Galway Arts Centre as part of the Galway International Arts Festival and in 2020 we will have a major concert in Coole Park to celebrate 200 years of astronomy. These projects all involve individuals and community group who traditionally do take part in science activities. I also worked with Refugee and Asylum seekers groups on a number of activities including taking them to Birr Castle and Observatory and guided tours around the July 2019 Art exhibition.

Andrew is a role model for other academic staff showing how a senior academic can lead and promote public engagement activity as part of an active academic’s role and champions the importance of a university being a local community resource for everyone.‌