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Exploring Light and Dark exhibition

We delivered an exhibition entitled ‘Exploring Light and Dark’ in collaboration with the Beacon Museum in Cumbria during June and July 2016 where we showcased the work of some of the university’s research teams in the areas of astrophysics, ecology and engineering.

Visitors were able to find out about our dynamic Sun, the life cycle of stars and a whole galaxy of interesting concepts and ideas. They were able to experience new ways of learning about scientific research through our audio visual exhibits including films, interpretation boards and hands-on activities that everyone could enjoy. Scientific research from the University of Central Lancashire in astrophysics, ecology and engineering was displayed in a variety of interactive formats.

The Sun

Visitors found out answers to the following questions:

  • What’s a Stellar Explosion? 
  • What do you know about the Sun, our closest star? 
  • Do you know what a Black Hole is? 
  • Why do certain worms react to White Night light conditions? 
  • What’s a Light Echo? 
  • How are plasmas created? 
  • How are stars born? 
  • What do stone circles tell us about what our ancestors thought about the Sun, the moon and the stars?

This exhibition was particularly suitable for year 6 school groups, and was also open to families and anyone with an interest in science. It was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and was delivered in collaboration with the Beacon Museum, Whitehaven.

A full evaluation of this exhibition is currently being undertaken and a summary of findings will be published in due course.

You can watch our YouTube video for a sample of what visitors to the exhibition were able to see.

This exhibition showcased the work of the University of Central Lancashire’s research teams, in particular:


For images from Exploring Light and Dark visit our Flickr page.

Red Strip 


Storytelling: - independent storyteller Steve Wharton told stories which incorporated some of the folklore about the Sun and the science that we now know about the Sun. Steve performed at local primary schools in Whitehaven and also at the Beacon Museum across a number of dates during the run of the exhibition. These workshops were aimed at predominantly Year 6 junior school pupils and family audiences.

Choreography: - independent dance artist and university lecturer Ruth Spencer delivered interpretive dance workshops about the lifecycle of stars to junior school pupils at schools in the Copeland area. Ruth was asked some fantastic questions from the pupils about the stars in our galaxy, and she put these questions to one of our researchers, Dr Joanne Pledger. Read more to see the questions with the answers provided by Joanne.

Both these workshops were very well attended and the feedback was extremely positive, as participants explained that they enjoyed learning about science and research in a completely new way and as an alternative to the traditional classroom arena.

This exhibition was also a fringe event for this year’s Lancashire Science Festival -

To find out more about the research being undertaken at the University of Central Lancashire go to

Exhibition location: In the new Light and Dark Gallery, Beacon Museum, West Strand, Whitehaven, Cumbria CA28 2LY, Tel: 01946 592302 Museum website:

To keep up to date on the University of Central Lancashire's research, please follow them on Twitter.


Beacon Museum 


Lanbot Fringe