Press Release

Alice in Wonderland inspires pioneering science games

Alice in Wonderland inspires pioneering science games: Press related to past event.

Alice in Wonderland’s surprising and surreal world, the subject of Tate Liverpool’s autumn exhibition (4 November 2011 – 29 January 2012), has also inspired Wondermind, a series of pioneering interactive games, videos and an online blog to help children learn about the science of the developing human brain. 

Supported by a Society Award from the Wellcome Trust, Wondermind builds on a long and successful history of collaboration between art and science, but this project is the first time that Tate has engaged scientists to work directly with children. Wondermind launches alongside the exhibition on Friday 4 November 2011.

Taking inspiration from the works on display and from the Tate collection, Wondermind is a suite of online games and interactive films for children aged 8-12 that illustrate the developmental neuroscience of the growing brain. Four stations, located in the gallery foyer, café, Family Room and Response Room, will allow visitors to explore cutting-edge science in a playful environment, and learn amazing facts about a child’s growing brain. The games, developed by independent games studio Preloaded, can also be played on, accessible via the Tate Kids website, giving thousands of children across the UK the chance to learn more about cognitive development.  

Players need to complete tasks such as finding out who painted the Queen of Hearts’ roses, helping Alice find the Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit, and making sure the Mad Hatter delivers a specific type of tea into the cups of his guests.  Through the games, players will learn about the development of cognitive functions such as memory, spatial awareness and language.

Accompanying the games is a series of interactive videos that allow players to have real conversations with scientists currently working in the field, created by award winning director Martin Percy. The team of Wondermind scientists represent different areas of developmental neuroscience and are led by key scientist Dr Michelle de Haan, Reader in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Honorary Neuropsychologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  De Haan’s work has been published extensively and has featured in a number of radio and television programmes including the BBC series’ Child of our Time and Honey We’re Killing the Kids.

Sharna Jackson, Editor, Tate Kids says:

The human brain has intrigued and fascinated artists for centuries - and modern neuroscience is a pioneering field, full of fascinating discoveries and developments. Wondermind has been designed to deliver this excitement to children, bringing complex concepts to life through art and play. We’re very proud of the exhibition and the games; perhaps they will inspire some of tomorrow’s brightest artists and scientists.

The Wondermind scientists will also contribute to a blog, which will pose questions about neuroscience, the link between art and science and the art of Alice in Wonderland.  Visitors to the site will be invited to join the discussion and there will be a competition for schools. Artworks from the Tate Collection will further enrich the Wondermind experience, both on and offline. 

Editor notes

The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.

The Wellcome Trust Society Awards are designed to support ambitious and creative projects that engage people with developments in biomedical science on a regional or national scale.

Tate Kids - (@tatekids)

Tate Kids is the number one art destination for kids online, engaging, entertaining and educating 5-12s (and their gatekeepers) on British and international historic and contemporary art, focusing on games and interactive experiences.

Tate Kids won the Webby for Best Youth Website in 2009 and was nominated in two further categories (Best Broadband for Barbara’s Garden and Best Use of Interactive Video for The Secret Dancer, both made with Martin Percy) in 2010. The site is also a triple Children’s BAFTA nominee with nods in the Animation, Learning Primary and Interactive categories in 2009 and 2010.   

Preloaded - (@preloaded)

Preloaded is an independent games studio that makes casual and social games on all platforms. Clients include BBC, Channel 4, Wellcome, Tate, Parliament Education, Turner Broadcasting and Disney. Awards include BAFTA, BIMA, SXSW, MEGA and British Television Awards.