Community projects

We support, commission and co-produce arts, education and environmental projects in partnership with community groups and organisations.

Many are designed for children and their families to take part in creative activities while learning about today's health challenges, the role of biomedical research and the Crick's work.

Science and story

Enjoying reading books produced in our Science and Story project.

  1. Science and story

    We co-produced three comic-strip style books aimed at helping children understand the purpose of the Francis Crick Institute.

    Three groups of local children and their families worked with illustrators and a children's writer on the design and content of the books. They took part in workshops with artists to learn about illustration, sculpture and screen printing techniques, and attended sessions with scientists and architects to find out more about the Crick.

    One book explores the design and construction of the building; the second explains the difference between infection and diseases, such as malaria and cancer; and the third focuses on the life of Francis Crick and the discovery of the structure of DNA.

    The books were distributed to local schools, community groups and libraries and we hope they will be used for many years.

    Participating community organisations: the Working Men's College, One KX, and Somers Town Community Centre.

    Partners: Pop Up Projects, a not-for-profit organisation that inspires children, families, and communities through books and stories. The books were published by Flying Eye Books.

    You can download a PDF of the books by clicking on the images below.

    A Crick Encounter with Dr Spangle     How Crick Cracked the Code     A New Neighbour?

    Find out more and watch a film of the project here.


  2. Digging up the past

    Exploring the past at the site of The Francis Crick Institute.

    Exploring the past at the site of The Francis Crick Institute.
    © Museum of London Archaeology

    Sponsorship from the Crick made it possible for archaeologists from the Museum of London to give free guided tours to visitors interested in what the Crick site had been used for in years gone by. The event attracted hundreds of visitors from across London and beyond.

    Before any building work could start on the land earmarked for the Francis Crick Institute, archaeologists from the Museum of London explored the site. They found the remains of the Somers Town Goods Yard, built on the site in 1887. This was a large distribution centre for perishable goods such as milk and fish brought to London every day from the east of England and the Midlands. It was demolished in the 1950s and 1960s.


  3. Green space in Somers Town

    Somerstown Garden Project.

    Community allotments 
    While plans for the Francis Crick Institute building were being finalised, we funded a community gardening project to make good use of the land while it lay empty.

    Run by the London Wildlife Trust, the scheme gave more than 100 local people the chance to grow their own food in raised-bed allotments. The project ended in December 2010 to allow building work to start. The raised-bed frames were moved to other sites in the area such as Coopers Lane and Edith Neville School so people could continue growing their own fruit and vegetables.

    Wildlife garden
    We also worked with the London Wildlife Trust, and local gardening groups, to create a landscaped, wildlife-friendly garden at the Crick. This green space, for staff and residents alike, will support ongoing engagement with local people through a community gardening group. 

    "From neglect and darkness, we've come together as a local resident group to create colour, attract wildlife, and engage the community."

    Jon McGee, resident of Somers Town

    Crick wildlife garden

    We are working with the London Wildlife Trust to look after the Wildlife Garden on Ossulston Street ©The Francis Crick Institute



  4. Creative workshops

    We have run an annual series of creative workshops with primary schools and community groups around Somers Town.

    To engage people with science through art, we commissioned the Tree of Life project in 2011.  Inspired by images of life under the microscope (such as cells, viruses and bacteria), young people from the local area worked with artist and scientist Dr Lizzie Burns to create delicate, colourful sculptures.  The project proved so popular that we ran it again in 2012. 

    A tree of life workshop at St Aloysius Juniors

    A tree of life workshop at St Aloysius Juniors
    © Lizzie Burns

    Another workshop, led by glass artist Susan Purser Hope, made connections between art, science and creativity. Participants, including 260 schoolchildren, created beautiful pieces of glass inspired by Scanning Electron Microscope images of the human body.

    We also worked with artist and illustrator Merlin Evans, who took children and their families on a microscopic tour around the beautiful world of bacteria, exploring the kinds of bugs that can be found crawling on their hands and lurking in their PE kits. After learning a few easy to master watercolour techniques, they created painted images of bacteria colonies.


  5. The Somers Town Light project

    In partnership with Wellcome Collection and Origin Housing, we celebrated the International Year of Light 2015 with a packed programme of activities in the Sidney Estate, Somers Town. Through workshops and craft, children and adults explored what light meant to them and the amazing ways light can be used.

    "I thought the workshops were outstanding and entertaining because you learned new things." 

    10 year old resident, Sidney Estate