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A scale model of the solar system designed by artist and children’s author Oliver Jeffers is going on display in Derry-Londonderry, Belfast and Cambridge as part of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK, a collaboration across art, science and technology.
Our Place in Space incorporates a 10km three-dimensional sculpture trail, an interactive AR app, and major learning and events programmes.
Through a range of interactive activities, Our Place in Space invites participants to consider how we might better share and protect our planet in future by shifting perspectives and bringing the solar system down to Earth.
From April, the trail will travel from Derry-Londonderry to Divis and the Black Mountain, Belfast and to the Ulster Transport Museum and North Down Coastal Path in Northern Ireland, as well as a riverside location in Cambridge.
Bay Road Park and River Foyle, Derry-Londonderry: 22 April to 22 May
Divis & Black Mountain, Belfast: 11 June to 10 July
Midsummer Common and River Cam, Cambridge: 30 July to 29 August
Ulster Transport Museum and North Down Coastal Path: 17 September to 16 October
The scheme is one of 10 creative projects commissioned as part of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK, a celebration of creativity taking place across the UK in 2022 featuring free events, installations and globally accessible digital experiences. The project is funded and supported by the four governments of the UK and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland.
Our Place in Space has been designed by Jeffers, who has sold more than 14 million picture books and exhibited his art worldwide, with support from Queen’s University Belfast astrophysicist Stephen Smartt. It has been produced by the Nerve Centre Collective, led by arts organisation the Nerve Centre and features music by sound artist Die Hexen.
A corresponding Our Place in Space app will be available for Apple and Android devices, allowing users across the world to take an augmented-reality walk through the virtual solar system, visiting planets and engaging with 10,000 years of human history on Earth.
Oliver Jeffers said: “For centuries, we’ve defined ourselves by who we are and who we’re not. Which side we choose, on what ground we stand, who and what we fight for. A human story, that lives merely in human minds. But with distance comes perspective – and what happens to our perspective on everything when we look back at Earth from space?
“Our Place in Space is a playful experiment that asks: what is the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’? Which side are we on, and if we look back at ourselves from vastness of outer space – alone on our tiny planet, the only one that can harbour life – should there be any ‘sides’ at all?”
Martin Green, chief creative officer of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK said: “Our Place in Space embodies Unboxed’s aims to bring people together and celebrate creativity through a project that is both fun and incredibly important in its aim for everyone to reflect on life on Earth and their relationships with those whose beliefs may be different to their own. It opens our eyes to a better future of understanding and collaboration.” 
The collaboration behind the project includes the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, National Museums NI, NI Science Festival, Big Motive, Taunt, Microsoft, Jeffers & Son, Dumbworld, Live Music Now, Little Inventors, Cambridge University, the National Trust and Urban Scale Interventions.
Our Place in Space is free and will run from 22 April to 16 October at four locations.
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