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Evolution Spring 2011

Project Icarus ii Presentation Day 3

The Evolution project ran alongside Cirque Du Soleil’s brand new show Totem which had its UK premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in January 2011.  It has built upon the success and format of previous engineering projects and integrated new and exciting opportunities for pupil interaction with the project partners, Rolls-Royce and Cirque du Soleil and Exscitec.

Year 4, 5, 6 and 7 pupils from schools in Westminster, Southwark and London Borough of Enfield were invited to the Royal Albert Hall to see a performance of Totem by Cirque du Soleil.  This inspired the pupils when later they worked in teams to solve a number of design and engineering challenges related to the production.
Teachers and pupils were given the opportunity to work with Rolls-Royce engineers on their project with additional support being provided by Exscitec.  All the schools then presented their designs and solutions to a panel of experts from Rolls-Royce, Cirque du Soleil and the Royal Albert Hall at an exhibition style event on 3 May 2011.  As well as presenting their ideas, they were also questioned on the processes they went through to realise their final design and to explain how they reached their agreed solution.


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College Park School

Edward Wilson Primary School

Friern Barnet Secondary School

Gateway Primary School

Larmenier & Sacred Heart RC Primary School

Lauriston Primary School

Old Ford Primary School

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

St Luke's CE Primary School

St Peter's Eaton Square CE School

St Stephen's Primary School

St Vincent's Catholic Primary School

Surrey Square Primary School

Tower Bridge Primary School

Wilberforce Primary School

Rolls-Royce PLC

Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, operates in four global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy. Over 38,000 people work for Rolls-Royce around the world and over 8,000 of these are scientists and engineers.

Rolls-Royce website 

City of Westminster

The Schools and Learning Directorate in Westminster is responsible for the learning and achievement of young people in Westminster Schools. They are tasked with responding to the Government Every Child Matters agenda, particularly ensuring that every child ‘enjoys and achieves’. In Westminster there are over 50 schools which reflect the full spectrum of diversity, challenge and opportunity. Many pupils from neighbouring boroughs are educated in these schools alongside Westminster residents. Over 30% of residents belong to Black or Minority Ethnic communities and over 100 first languages are spoken. Westminster has high numbers of Chinese and Bangladeshi residents and African-Caribbean residents constitute the largest minority group.

City of Westminster website 

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil® is a world-famous international travelling circus based in Montreal, Quebec in Canada.  Its shows are characterised by imaginative use of costume, music and lighting and breath-taking displays of human skill with world-class jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists, contortionists, balancing acts and clowning. It does not use animals and has developed its own language (Cirquish) so that it can be equally understood in each country it visits. Cirque du Soleil usually performs in a ‘big-top’ style tent but occasionally works in existing entertainment venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.

This project would not have been possible without the involvement of Cirque du Soleil and their production of Quidam.  The show provided the creative spark that inspired the children to learn about the possibilities that a career in engineering might offer in the field of performing arts.

Cirque du Soleil website 


Exscitec is a provider of STEM outreach activities for students of all ages. Their highly acclaimed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) experiences are mostly funded by partnership arrangements with educational organisations, i.e. Schools, Local Authorities, and Outreach divisions.  Their aim is to work with young people to raise aspirations, improve attainment in STEM subjects and increase participation in STEM related careers, including teaching in particular. Their partnership provision includes Summer Schools, Day Workshops, Science Festivals, Careers Fairs, INSET, Bursaries and Award Programmes.  Exscitec designs hands-on problem solving experiences - which have been hosted by Universities, Schools and City Learning Centres around the UK, and the USA.

Exscitec website 

Additional Funders

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 awards grants and fellowships in support of science and industry to the value of £2m a year.  First established in 1850 to stage the Great Exhibition, the Commission initially invested the Exhibition's profit by purchasing the land for development of the South Kensington cultural estate of museums, colleges and the Royal Albert Hall.

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 website 

The Mercers Company

The Mercers’ Company is the Premier City Livery Company in London, with its origins dating back beyond its first charter in the 14th Century. Its charitable activities are focused on education, care for the elderly and general welfare. It has been involved in education for 500 years since the foundation of St. Paul’s School in 1509, and is now associated with the governance of 15 schools and colleges in England. Through its Charitable Foundation it supports education projects aimed at raising the interests, aspirations and achievements of school pupils, particularly in London and the West Midlands.

The Mercers Company website

Downloadable Resources

Young Journalists Academy Report

Learning & Participation has worked with the Young Journalists Academy regularly over the past three years. They produce reports, interviews, films and audio clips on a variety of topics. For this project Learning & Participation commissioned the Young Journalists Academy to follow the process of Evolution and produce a report of their findings. Check out the video clips of their interviews with: Rachel Farrell, Community Partnerships Coordinator at the Royal Albert HallGill Fennell, Community Investment Manager and Jane Leonard, Adminstration from Rolls-RoyceSteve Warren, an engineer at Rolls-RoyceAndy Peat, Techincal Project Manager with Cirque du Soleil. Please also see A Day in the Life of an Engineer and An Overview of the Project.