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What if…? – Supporting young people’s curiosity

Winner: National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s Engage Award - Best Engagement with Young People

If you could ask any question, what would you ask?

What if…? was an exploration of young people’s curiosity and creativity. Working in collaboration with creative practitioners and Durham University scientists, young people from Greenfield Community College were challenged to explore their curiosity, and to develop and direct the production of an interactive performance piece aiming to engage and inspire their peers.

This is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Scientific Researcher

The resultant performance piece challenges audiences to explore their own curiosity, and investigates the research, personal journeys and daily experiences of two contributing scientists. So far, it has reached over 1000 people in school and community groups.

It was really interesting and it was about thinking and asking questions, loads of people got involved. It was good

Audience Member
I was very impressed with the number of students who were fully engaged…


What if…? won the Engaging Young People award in the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) Engage Competition.

These prestigious awards aimed to find and celebrate high quality public engagement with research and the judges selected What if…? from over 230 entries. The judges were impressed by the project’s commitment to placing young people at its very heart and truly involving them in scientific research. Winning the NCCPE award was a fantastic achievement given the high calibre of entries into the competition.

What If? was presented as an example of a hallmark of excellent engagement in additional evidence submitted to the UK Governments Science and Technology Committee (Science Communication) What if UK STC (1MB, PDF).