TAS Wessex Area suports 'INVENT IT!' competition in Bath

TAS Wessex Area suports 'INVENT IT!' competition in Bath

16 Sep 2023

‘Invent It’ Development of Bath Young Inventors

Having worked with Katie O’Brien at 44AD artspace, an art gallery in Bath by supporting their Open Art Prize we were very happy to support this new project. Working on this project with Stuart Boroughs, from the Museum of Bath at Work, Curo, a housing association and building company in Bath and Paul Thomas from the original Bath Medical Museum the plan was to demonstrate how many inventions had been made in Bath and use that as stimulus for an ‘Invent It’ competition.

Wessex Area agreed to pay for the publishing of the Bath Inventors Trail booklet – 'A Map of Discovery and Innovation' - which was so successful that Bath Tourist Office came in and took copies to use in their publicity drives! All 1000 copies were either distributed to schools, families, attendees of the talks, visitors to the Inventions exhibition at 44AD. So there was a huge educational impact in Bath on just how important the city was in recent times.

44AD put in a huge amount of designing time on the booklet, posters, exhibition materials, also developing links with schools and other organisations and all the background planning and paperwork to pull the whole project together.

The event started with a Launch in Feb 2023 with interactive exhibition at 44AD on Local Inventions. The Launch was presented by Prof. Tony Miles, Emeritus Professor of Biomechanics of Bath University. Examples and details of the different inventions were on display and presentations were made to children and parents and the format of the competition was covered. This exposure to the breadth of inventions had an enormous impact on the children and their families.  

Visits were made to local schools by 44AD and members from the Museums to create excitement and engagement.

TAS Wessex Area provided funding for Booklet - A Trail of the different Inventions made in Bath – such as Anglepoise lamp, Plasticine, Bath Chair, Wheel Chair – and this gave TAS Wessex Area good publicity as they put our logo on everything.

We also provided the funding for a series of talks to children on Inventors on first Saturday of each month. These were: ‘About Time: The Horstmann Family and Timepieces’, ‘Hand and Eye: William Habutt Art and Industry’, The Ideal Home: the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner and Anglepoise Lamp’, and ‘Going Up: Cross manufacturing and Stothert and Pitt’. These were successful in providing detailed information on how inventors develop their ideas and then market them.

The interesting bit was the Children’s Invention Competition, which was followed by an exhibition of all the maquettes and designs. Parents, teachers and visitors to Bath all viewed the exhibition and made comments on the ideas presented.

The final judging looked at all the work and discussed in detail the strengths of the individual projects. A brilliant one on developing textile strength and uses in architecture which was well researched and documented. Another one responded to parents not having time to take their children to the park. A connecting safe parks scheme was designed to allow passage to and from all the green spaces in Bath. In consultation with the designer/inventor this idea will be taken forward to the local planning group for discussion. A really exciting outcome.

Listening to the children discussing their inventions you could hear the confidence in their voices and their enthusiasm for completing their invention journey. Their friends who came to the exhibition were excited and want tojoin in next year.

Other inventions were inventing kids travel pods, an Environmental Amp, Tap Chat – earrings for talking, environmentally friendly shredding ideas and zip wire travel. Finally, the short-listed group then presented their inventions to a panel of judges and the winner will be declared and celebrated.

This final award giving was held at the Museum of Bath at Work and the winner was Angus with his ‘Pencil Utensil’. I was asked to make a presentation about the Arts Society, and the importance of our arts education funding procedures.

There are plans to develop this project next year engaging more organisations, schools and workshops in a more concentrated time slot.

About the Author

Heather Leach AVAC Wessex Area

  • design
  • competition
  • workshops


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