When W5 (WhoWhatWhereWhenWhy) first opened its doors in March 2001, Northern Ireland had never seen anything like it! From the outset, the mission was ‘to fire the spirit of discovery’, intriguing and engaging visitors with hands-on and immersive learning in a fun and inclusive environment.

Twenty years on and having reached more than four million visitors, as a charity established to advance public education, W5 is embracing innovation and the changing digital landscape to make science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) more accessible, relevant, interesting and fun for all their visitors. 

In 2017 W5 embarked on a journey of re-imagining what a new W5 could be. Following an extensive consultation and co-design process with a wide range of different stakeholders they identified the areas of innovation and technology that are of most interest and can now share the plans for a re-imagined W5. 

W5 is creating eight new themed exhibition areas and experiences which will be immersive and memorable, where visitors can become fully absorbed and engaged with STEM in a fun and interactive way. W5 has developed a new approach to visitor engagement, both within W5 and the community, creating dynamic content with new science shows, family events and activities, presenting information in new and unusual ways. 

This is a really exciting time at W5 and the new, redeveloped and redefined W5 will open on June 6, 2020.

In the meantime, sign up to W5’s newsletter to be the first to hear about exciting developments and keep up to date with the ongoing programme of events and activities between now and June 2020. Visit w5online.co.uk

This opportunity has been supported by £3m awarded from the Inspiring Science Fund – a scheme co-founded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome. £1.5m additional investment came from the Odyssey Trust, and Tourism NI, which provided nearly £400,000 from its Immersive Technology Fund.


Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan


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