Last Friday, Tate Kids (@tate_kids on twitter) were excited and pleased to launch Wondermind, our biggest project to date.

Alice in Wondermind - Go down the rabbit hole with Tate Kids

Wondermind is a rich suite of games, interactive videos and blog posts which marry the world of Alice in Wonderland and developmental neuroscience. It was funded by the Wellcome Trust, and made in collaboration with multi award-winning digital agency Preloaded, Webby award-winning director Martin Percy and renowned neuroscientist Dr. Michelle de Haan. Within Tate, teams in Online, Development, Learning, PR, Curatorial, IS and AV in London and Liverpool worked very closely to deliver the project. The site is designed for children aged 8 and over for use at home, in a gallery or at school with a range of difficulty levels represented across four games. In Remember Me, the player must match up the pair of cards who have been painting the white roses red in the Queen of Hearts’ garden. On Reflection challenges the player to shine a lamp light on the Cheshire Cat by placing mirrors in a maze. Pathways sets you after the White Rabbit, who is hiding in a warren beneath a rapidly overgrowing forest. Lastly (and most challengingly - for me at least), Talking Tea asks you to serve the right kind of tea to each guest at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

Each game corresponds directly to a concept within neuroscience. The games are not only beautifully-designed and developed, but they also deal with the idea of explaining the concept, without testing it - a very particular and important distinction. The player can then delve deeper into the concepts they’ve just seen by having interactive conversations with scientists who are currently working in the field. Sitting in on the interactive filming was probably the point at which we realised we really were doing something quite unique; watching them explain their subject and learning something ourselves (I’m trying to find out just how developed my pre-frontal cortex is!) was very different from an average day in the gallery. The blog that the interactive content sits in allows the player to go even deeper, see art and artists inspired by the scientific themes raised in the films and games, leave comments and vote in polls. There is a resource and lesson plan for teachers that further ties art and science together. The underlying message of Wondermind is that you can enjoy both art and science; they’re not mutually exclusive, and can often be complementary. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on Wondermind, so please do let me know what you think.

Comments

Susan Norwood

I think this is a brilliant idea..we too were lucky in gaining Welcome Trust Funding to explore working with art, dance and video in teaching science to young people with a learning disability..as artists we are natural researchers..and explorers so combining the research subject to be science and to explore it creatively is exciting and can put the learner in the driving seat of their learning..we produced a learning/teaching resource of the beautiful art works that were created thestudyoftears.projectvolume.org/

Sharna Jackson

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for getting in touch.

Because the Autistic spectrum varies so much, Tate Learning suggest that a supported visit is arranged for individuals or a group of Autistic children. It's definitely worth contacting the National Autistic Society for information on how to facilitate a meaningful visit to the gallery and what kind of access support should be put in place.

In the London galleries, we do offer free artist-led gallery workshops which are open to all and can be tailored for SEN groups http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/eventseducation/schools/18377.htm.

Tate Liverpool also offer workshops that can be tailored to SEN groups but there's a charge for a maximum 10 children per group.

Also, in March 2012 there will be a study day at Tate Modern for teachers and educators focusing particularly on Art and Special Educational Needs, again more details of this can be found here http://www.tate.org.uk/learning/teachers/modern/24017.htm

We also think that the following websites may be of interest
http://www.autism.org.uk/
http://www.autismlondon.org.uk/
http://www.shapearts.org.uk/

You can also let him investigate the Tate Kids website in his own time. http://www.tate.org.uk/kids

Do let us know how you get on!
SJ

Stephen Orme

I work at Tate St. Ives and have a nephew who is Autistic and have been wondering for ages about ways to make kids like him engage with Art. Any details you could let me have would be great. Many Thanks.
Stephen,