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Expo 2020: Lucy Hawking championing space science & accessibility

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Lucy Hawking to champion space science and accessibility at #Expo2020 Dubai (@UKPavilion2020)

Children’s author and journalist, Lucy Hawking, whose father’s work inspired the design of the UK Pavilion, will be participating in the UK programme at Expo 2020 Dubai, starting with International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd December.

To mark the day, Lucy Hawking will be running a space science and storytelling workshop with UAE students as part of a special programme of events which includes a panel session, a student book reading and an event aimed at ‘Redefining Accessibility’.

The events will be taking place at the UK Pavilion, conceived by Es Devlin and inspired by one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects. Breakthrough Message was a global competition launched in 2016, inviting people to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet, should we one day encounter other advanced civilisations in space. The Collective Message at the UK Pavilion invites visitors to donate a word to a message from humanity to the universe. It uses AI technology to generate individual poetic couplets which form the message and are projected from the UK Pavilion’s stunning cone-shaped structure.

Lucy’s involvement with the programme will begin on International Day of Persons with Disabilities when she will deliver a bespoke space workshop with students from the Manzil Center for People with Disabilities, UAE and their parents. In the following days, Lucy will provide interactive ‘journeys across the universe’, exploring the wonders of the cosmos through story-telling. These talks will introduce students to the life and work of her father.

On the 3rd December, the UK Pavilion will also host a reading from students from the Manzil Center of a book that they wrote in collaboration with UK at Expo 2020 Dubai partner HSBC and the British Council. Also included in the programme of events is a panel discussion on “Changing the Disability Conversation; Redefining Accessibility”, chaired by Nichoals Cheffings, Trustee of CareTech Foundation with panellists Mike Adams OBE, CEO of Purple, Dougal Hawes, Managing Director of Smartbox, Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre and Sahm Cooper, an alumnus of HSBC’s Inclusion Project.

Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner General, said:

‘Professor Stephen Hawking, a true British icon and pioneering thought leader, changed the world with his work and continuing legacy and so it is a great honour and privilege to welcome his daughter, Lucy Hawking, to the UK’s programme at Expo 2020 Dubai. Our hope is to spark the minds of future innovators through our content and so we look forward to Lucy helping us to achieve this, sharing the life and work of her father and bringing magic and wonder through the art of storytelling.”

Lucy Hawking said:

“I’m very pleased to see how the UK Pavilion, inspired by my father’s work, is creating a message from humanity with a unique mix of visitors’ words and AI technology. I’m also delighted that this building provides a platform to engage the young generation in the wonders of science and space and to develop imaginative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges, including increasing accessibility for all.”

The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and the largest event ever held in the Arab world, Expo 2020 Dubai will run for six months from  1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 – bringing 190-plus countries together in a spirit of hope, optimism and shared purpose.

Find out more about the UK’s activities at Expo 2020 and catch up on our events with our new Virtual Pavilion which will be updated throughout Expo.

Join the conversation at @UKPavilion2020 #Expo2020

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