Wondermind: adventures into art, science and games at Tate

Sharna Jackson, UK

Wondermind is an interactive experience designed to reach audiences not normally engaged with biomedical science through an immersive website for children aged 8-12 (and their gatekeepers). It introduces them to key neuroscience concepts in child development as they learn about the science of brain development, inspired by works from the Tate collection and an exploration of the world presented by Lewis Carroll. Wondermind launched in conjunction with and was informed and inspired by the Alice in Wonderland show at Tate Liverpool in November 2011.

Wondermind consists of:
A set of four mini-games, which use Alice in Wonderland themes to introduce our areas of scientific focus in a friendly and engaging way.

A series of interactive videos that link to the games, but delve deeper into the science with interviews with leading scientists and researchers.

The website itself. The interactive content sits within a WordPress powered blog which allows the kids to find out even more about the science, see art related to the concepts and share their thoughts in the comments.

Commissioned by Tate Kids – the project had a number of stakeholders and collaborators. It was funded by the Wellcome Trust, developed by game studio Preloaded and interactive filmmaker Martin Percy with scientists currently working in the field; led by Michelle de Haan, Reader in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Child Health.

This joint Tate Kids and Preloaded paper will tell the entire story of Wondermind, from the funding application process to the results of the final evaluation. It will detail Wondermind’s games – and include our design decisions and processes. The paper will cover the production and integration of the interactive videos into the experience. We will make mention of how departments across Tate – across sites and across the country – collaborated on the blog content, but also Wondermind’s delivery. We will delve into the reviews and the reception from its intended audiences and talk about the marketing, communication and seeding plan. Crucially, we will be open about the lessons we have learned and offer clear takeaways for anyone considering a multi-disciplinary, multiple-stakeholder project like Wondermind.