Hi, I’m Jasmine. I’m part of the contemporary science team working on Pain Less. When creating a new exhibition our job is to research the topic, interview and work with experts, and write the content for the exhibition.
However, we’re doing things a little differently this time – enlisting help from groups of people who can give us unique perspectives on the topic and shape the content of Pain Less. So my job is a little different too. My main task throughout the creation of Pain Less is to work with one of these groups – Year 9 students from Langley Academy – to ensure their ideas inspire and become part of the exhibition
So what have they done so far?
At the start the students met researchers at the top of their game studying pain, anaesthesia and consciousness.
Out of the three topics, the students decided their favourite was pain, because everyone, well almost everyone, can relate to the experience.
The students got to quiz the experts about everything and anything they could think of that’s to do with pain…
How many different types of pain are there? Why do we all experience pain differently? Why do some people feel more pain than others? Do you feel that current painkillers are good enough? If you could get rid of pain completely, would you?
The questions they asked, along with the very interesting answers, inspired the content of our exhibition. We explored different pain treatments, such as virtual reality and spider venom. The students, especially the girls, were very interested in how our mood can drastically influence our perception of pain. This then became one of the main topics of Pain Less.
As well exploring the stories we tell in Pain Less, we shared the different ways we deliver our content at the Science Museum. We visited some of the Musuem’s other interactive galleries – Atmosphere, Launchpad and Who am I? – and also took the students to explore our team’s interactive gallery, Antenna.
From artwork to films to objects, the students told us what they liked and disliked.
They decided they wanted their contribution to Pain Less to be an interactive video game, as that’s what they enjoyed the most in the galleries they visited. You can have a go at some of these games yourself online.
In the next few sessions, ideas for games were all jotted down on giant tablecloths before being presented to the rest of the group.
The students agreed that the aim of the game should be to stop the pain, and came up with some very painful scenarios for the game character: getting your braces tightened, paper cuts, even broken limbs.
Creativity was not lacking! All we needed was an expert game designer…
So we introduced the group to Thought Den, a video game company from Bristol. Together they talked about point systems, bonuses and power-ups, and how they could be related to the science in the exhibition. One idea was a ‘power-up painkiller’ – the character can take it to defeat attacking pain waves, but must be careful not to use it too often as it will become less effective, reflecting the reality that we can build up a tolerance to painkillers.
As there were so many ideas for the game, we’re all very curious to finally see it in action!
I’ve only given you a taster of all the work we’ve done with Langley Academy, but luckily, back at the start of the project, I began writing a blog (yes another one!) about our sessions, called Ouch!Ouch!Ouch! Check out sketches and ideas from the students, online science games, even a video of a tarantula and a scorpion getting milked… Enjoy!