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Future Brunels Discover Science Behind Shaun The Sheep

Science and art are the subjects attracting a group of talented schoolchildren –  known as the ‘Future Brunels’ – to the Aardman studios on May 8.

It is the latest activity organised by the ss Great Britain Trust for the children, now in their second year of a five-year programme.

The ‘Future Brunels’ programme, which is supported by The Lloyd’s Register Foundation (The LRF) and Society of Merchant Venturers, is designed to encourage more children to pursue a career in science and engineering.

It is one of the educational activities run by the Trust’s Brunel Institute, situated next the historic ship in Bristol.

Seeking inspiration from the great Victorian engineer I.K. Brunel, the pupils are learning about ‘The Polymath’ and how to combine science and art. Brunel was admired for his engineering genius and his ability to design beautiful work, which includes the ss Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The 12 children from four Bristol schools – Bedminster Down School, Cotham School, Merchants’ Academy and Redland Green School – have an exciting day planned at Aardman.

The Bristol-based company, which has won Oscars, is most famous for its characters ‘Morph’, ‘Wallace and Gromit’, and ‘Shaun the Sheep’, and feature films including Aardman’s latest release ‘The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists’.

During their day with Aardman, the Trust’s ‘Future Brunels’ are planning to:

  • Watch a cinema screening;
  • Tour the ‘Shaun the Sheep’ studio floor and the computer room, seeing Aardman’s own animation software in use;
  • Learn about the latest technologies involved in filming, editing and lighting;
  • Discover the science behind computer graphics and visual effects, including rapid prototyping and robotics;
  • Find out about set-building and model-making;
  • Understand the role of code-writers in designing websites and games.

The ‘Future Brunels’ project is seen as pioneering by sector leaders, including The LRF,  and is the most ambitious educational programme developed to date by the ss Great Britain Trust, which also runs the museum attraction Brunel’s ss Great Britain.

The ‘Future Brunels’ five-year rolling programme covers:

Year 1: ‘The Scientist’ – exploring the world and testing ideas;
Year 2: ‘The Polymath’ – combining art and science;
Year 3: ‘The Magician’ – new advances, pseudo science and the super hero;
Year 4: ‘The Engineer’ – pushing the boundaries and learning from mistakes;
Year 5: ‘The Human Being’ – impact of science and engineering and ethics.

The ss Great Britain Trust’s Education Manager Dr Rachel Roberts commented: “The ‘Future Brunels’ programme is helping to inspire the next generation of Brunels by giving talented schoolchildren truly unique opportunities.

“These include visiting the Aardman studios to see how engineering, science and art are being used together to make television programmes such as ‘Shaun the Sheep’.”

Dr Roberts added: “We are delighted to be working with Aardman and with the support we have received from funders, especially The Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Society of Merchant Venturers.”

Aardman’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive, David Sproxton, said: “The day is about how people with a strong science background can belong to a very creative industry. It is going to show the children how creativity and art and science and technology are still intertwined in the 21st century – much as they were for Isambard Kingdom Brunel.”

Other educational work carried out by the ss Great Britain Trust includes school tours and ‘Brunel Badge Workshops’ for schools at Brunel’s ss Great Britain; the ‘Brunel Badge Loan Boxes’ scheme for informal education groups; ‘Sea Hear’ storytelling for pre-school children; and the ‘Golden Ticket’ scheme for schoolchildren in educationally deprived areas. The ss Great Britain Trust’s educational work covers all ages including the Trust’s Talks Programme for adult groups.