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Sports Lab

Lead investigators David James

Funded by Engineering and Physical Science Research Council

Amount £82,000 plus partner funding from Museums Sheffield

Dates 01/01/2010 – 09/09/2012

Sports Lab/Beautiful Games is an interactive exhibition that has stimulated debate and raised interest in sports science and engineering and reached an audience of more than 400,000 visitors. The Centre for Sports Engineering Research worked in partnership with Museums Sheffield to develop the engaging and informative exhibition, aimed at young people but accessible to all. The exhibition comprised of a collection of historic and contemporary artefacts positioned alongside numerous interactive sporting tests such as a virtual bike race, a reaction speed wall, a ‘smart’ dance floor, and even a skeleton bobsled simulator.

Sports Lab opened at the Weston Park Museum in Sheffield on 29 January 2011, and remained open every day until 20 November 2011. During this period more than 140,000 people visited the exhibition and developed their understanding about the fundamental role that science plays throughout the world of sport. The exhibition re-opened under the new name ‘Beautiful Games’ at the V&A Museum of Childhood on 31 March 2012, and remained open until 9 September 2012. The Olympic time frame and the close proximity of the exhibition to the Olympic Park led to visitor numbers in excess of 260,000.

This significant project was funded through a ‘Partnerships for Public Engagement’ grant from the EPSRC, sponsorship from Sheffield Hallam University, and core funding from Museums Sheffield. The project received a silver medal at the Podium Awards.

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