The Bristol science and arts centre, We The Curious, says its plans to open bold new exhibition Project What If are on track for a November opening.

Inspired by 10,000 questions collected from every postcode in the city, Project What If will be the first major science centre exhibition in the UK inspired entirely by the curiosity of a city’s residents.

The project aims to reimagine the science centre experience and will see the foyer and ground floor exhibition spaces completely transformed. The core of the exhibition will be built around seven questions, selected from the thousands of questions submitted by visitors and Bristol residents over the past three years. It will be multidisciplinary, which means ideas will be explained in different and often surprising ways, embracing art as well as science, while celebrating and cultivating curiosity.

The seven selected questions will inform seven exciting new exhibition areas – called ‘constellations’ – covering themes such as illness, rainbows, happiness, the universe, invisibility and time. The other questions have been used to create an interactive questions database for visitors to explore in the ‘John James Theatre of Curiosity’ and the exhibition will feature ‘Open City Lab’, funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, devoted to participation in scientific research as it happens.

We The Curious Projects Producer, Amelia Howarth, said, “Each exhibition area uses high-tech, beautiful design to explore these very different questions in a multitude of ways, covering a huge variety of different disciplines and voices. We’ve worked with so many amazing people, from members and volunteers to partners and schools, as well as the question askers themselves.

We The Curious CEO, Donna Speed, added, “With Project What If we want to challenge preconceived ideas, give a platform to all voices and help remove barriers to participation. Our new exhibition will open up science to all and empower people to participate in real scientific research. Our aim is to place people at the heart of science and present the real world of science – a world that is creative, collaborative, uncertain and inspiring. 

“Like all science and arts centres around the UK this is not an easy time for us but we are still focused on making this experience as open and collaborative as it can be. We’ve employed over 100 collaborators, and have been working with researchers and young people across the city to make this happen. We will need the support of our local Bristol community and beyond when we reopen, and we can’t wait to share this with you.”

We The Curious is an educational charity and interactive science centre in Bristol which brings together science, art, technology, culture and innovation to create positive change for its community and environment and “create a culture of curiosity”. This year We The Curious is celebrating 20 years in Bristol.