African Families in the UK

Building cultural connections

The My Place, My Science project is all about supporting young people of African and black Caribbean heritage to enjoy science and build cultural connections.


Together with colleagues from Oxford University’s science departments, the Museum is working with the community organisation African Families in the UK (AFiUK) to create a culturally safe space to learn together through a programme of events and workshops.

Building on the Science Together initiative, this community-orientated programme is fostering relationships between University departments, local community organisations, and other regional science partners. 

While it is based in Blackbird Leys — which is among the 20% most-deprived wards in the UK — My Place, My Science also attracts families from other areas.

The children engaging in the project — who come from first- or second-generation migrant families — can use their experiences to tackle some of the barriers they may face, like racialisation and low socio-economic input.


African Families in the UK (AFiUK) project group

A group of young people and adults from African Families in the UK visiting the Physics Department


Belonging and equal opportunity

Supporting AFiUK's core mission, these informal, facilitated activities help foster a sense of belonging and equal opportunity.

In addition to sessions in the Museum, the programme goes out to where science is happening every day, including Oxford University's science facilities and partners like the:

  • biotech company Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • UKRI research facility Diamond Light
  • City College’s Technology campus.

Through taking part in this programme, children from African families living in the UK can take the opportunity to:


  • engage in conversation and build communication networks within their families and community
  • build confidence and self-esteem
  • gain real-world experiences of science by engaging directly with scientists
  • foster identity through culturally specific links with science
  • cross bridges to the places where science is happening — places that may feel unfamiliar and inaccessible.

In summer 2024, the young people in the group will co-create an event at the History of Science Museum, where they will share their experiences of science and culture with other Museum visitors.

What we've achieved together

Expand All


26 October 2023

Members of the African Families in the UK community came together for an evening exploring history and identity, sharing African heritage cultures, with storytelling and activities at the Blackbird Leys Community Library.



27 October 2023

Young people with parents and parent advocates from AFiUK visited the Museum for a workshop all about the invention of wireless communication.

Activities included using telegraphic apparatus to discover Morse code messaging, and making simple crystal radio receivers which they tried out in the gallery.



I took part in an activity communicating through Morse code and was able to create a circuit connected to a radio.

I really enjoyed this trip and hope to return in the near future.

I loved when we went to the museum because we got to see some cool stuff like Einstein’s blackboard.

African Families in the UK (AFiUK) Wireless World

Investigating a 1930s crystal radio set

African Families in the UK (AfiUK) Wireless World

Testing crystal radio circuits



25 November 2023

Young people with parents and parent advocates from AFiUK visited the Physics Department for exciting workshops facilitated by young researchers which were all about magnetism.

The younger children enjoyed exploring the phenomenon of magnetism and making a model loud speaker, while the older children discovered the amazing world of supercooled magnets.

We all came together for a live interactive presentation followed by welcome refreshments.



Today was surprising and interesting and fun. This was the best day ever. Thank you for having me. (12 yrs)



I found it interesting learning about liquid nitrogen and properties of magnets and how we can use the track to levitate magnets with superconductors. (16 yrs)



The people here are nice – the scientists are patient – I would like to be a scientist. (14 yrs)


Amazing Magnets (African Families in the UK)

Experimenting with supercooled magnets

Amazing Magnets (African Families in the UK)

Building model loudspeakers



Thursday 18 January 2024

Hosted by Oxford City College’s Technology Campus in Blackbird Leys, this event was specifically aimed at members of AFiUK and open to wider members of the local community.

The weather conditions were ideal and participants enjoyed clear views of the surface of the Moon, Jupiter and its Moons, and Saturn.

As well as modern telescopes and activities organised by Oxford Physics, participants were able to experiment with a Galilean telescope and handling objects from the Museum.

The event included stalls with activities facilitated by research students from Astrophysics including calculating the scale of the solar system and experimenting with infra-red cameras.



They [the scientists] were nice, friendly and answering clearly all our questions.

I can’t believe I saw the Moon!

A stellar success: community stargazing | University of Oxford Department of Physics


Monday 12 February 2024

The group visited the Physics Department again. Supported by young researchers, they enjoyed an interactive workshop and activities investigating the science of climate change.

The young people and their families enjoyed demonstrations of the double-jointed chaotic pendulum, illustrating how difficult it is to predict the weather.

They learned about climate change and extreme weather events in tropical areas including the Caribbean, and made their own weather stations, including anemometers to measure wind speed.



This visit made me surprised because I didn’t know how fantastic and complex the climate is and how hard it is to try and predict how the climate would be. (15 yrs)


Thursday 15 February 2024

A group of teenagers and adults from AFiUK visited the biotech company Vertex Pharmaceuticals for a facilitated workshop in a fully equipped modern teaching laboratory.

Sickle cell anaemia is a hereditary disease that is relatively common among people of African descent, and we used powerful microscope to look at blood samples, including sickle cells. 

We also learned how to use micropipettes and carried out a test on DNA samples to detect the presence of the sickle cell gene.

The young people met and chatted over lunch to scientists working for the company and found out about the student intern programme.

Another student was able to relate the information to a case in his own family history.


I really liked the practical work we did and learning about how to diagnose sickle cell disease. (15 yrs)

Working in partnership


History of Science Museum Logo (4 colour)

University of Oxford

Department of Chemistry

Department of Physics

Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology | NDORMS