'A Place Called Space'

The Ri Channel have launched their fourth advent calendar 'A Place Called Space' to tie in with this year's CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

This year's advent calendar is titled 'A place called space'.
Royal Institution

Throughout December, to tie in with Dr Kevin Fong’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES, ‘How to survive in space’, the Ri is producing a celestial, online advent calendar: 'A Place Called Space'. Every day until Christmas, the Ri will unveil a new piece of space travel-themed web content.

One piece of content will be released on our website every morning, and in the style of a traditional advent calendar, visitors will have to click on the day’s number before they can enjoy it. The content will also be featured on the Ri’s social media platforms, on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.

With hand-drawn animations, interviews with astronauts and infographics exploring the human experience of space travel and its role within our culture, the calendar will take an alternative, creative, and playful look at what it means to explore space.

Each day the Ri will be releasing a new and original piece of content, one morning viewers can ‘unwrap’ a video of Kevin Fong doing an experiment in zero gravity, the next there will be an article about all the small things that go wrong in space, from sneezing in a space suit to floating away from a keyboard while you type. The calendar channels the voices of leading scientists like space debris expert Stuart Grey, seasoned astronauts like Daniel Tani, and Christmas Lecturer Kevin Fong himself to create content of the finest quality. Viewers will be able to watch poet Mark Grist argue with himself about why we go to space, and listen to the UK’s first astronaut Helen Sharman describe what it’s like to dream in space.

The Ri’s advent calendar is now in its fourth year and is this year generously supported by the Wellcome Trust. The project aims to build on the theme of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES and further the Ri’s mission of encouraging people to think more deeply about the wonders and applications of science by reaching new online audiences. ‘A Place Called Space’ will give viewers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the personal experiences of those who have lived and worked in space, showcasing space exploration from a human perspective and highlighting its effects on our worldview and society. From behind-the-scenes broadcast footage, science demos, short-form documentary films, info-graphics and collaborations between illustrators, poets, scientists and animators, this year’s advent will be the Ri’s most ambitious digital content collection to date.

Behind the calendar are the creative minds of the Ri production team who manage the much loved Royal Institution YouTube channel, which has over 170,000 subscribers. Cassie Williams, Digital Manager at the Ri said, “This year’s advent calendar is our most ambitious digital project to-date, as we combine behind-the-scenes CHRISTMAS LECTURES footage with the voices of astronauts, scientists and our 2015 Christmas Lecturer, Kevin Fong, along with artists, film-makers, animators and poets, to bring the magic of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES online”.

Professor Gail Cardew, Professor of Science, Culture and Society and Director of Science and Education at the Ri also expressed her excitement at the launch of the project,  “The gems that will pop up each day in the advent calendar will be far more satisfying, thoughtful and wondrous than the momentary thrill of a piece of chocolate.”