An interactive, multimedia exhibition based on the North East’s experience of coronavirus and what it’s been like for people in our communities to ‘live through history’ is going on tour this summer.

Created by students at Duke’s Secondary School in Ashington (Part of Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust), the ‘Pan@NCEA’ project combines elements of the STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) as well as Art, Design, Media and Languages to tell the story of the pandemic; the different stages we have experienced and how these experiences have varied from person to person and place to place.

The whole school has been involved in aspects of the project, from taking part in activities during science lessons and tutor time to support the conceptual research, to the physical construction of the exhibition itself.

Comprising three large art installations to visually represent the three scientific stages of the pandemic from its discovery back in December 2019 through to the present day and the rollout of the vaccine, the exhibition also features audio visual elements including sound recordings of students and contacts from around the world, as well as interviews with Duke’s Secondary School’s Principal, Mr Russ Atkinson and Father Laurence Freeman, Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation.

Interactive activities on offer as part of the exhibition include real-life X-Rays to show healthy lungs versus lungs infected by Covid-19, an experiment to demonstrate how the lateral flow test works and the specificity of the vaccine and a very special Covid-19 virus DNA model.

Dr Jodi Harrison, Academic Mentor at Duke’s Secondary School, has led on the project for the students, she said:

“We’re so excited to take our Pan@NCEA project on tour through the summer. Coronavirus has been the single biggest challenge that many of our young people have ever had to face – causing disruption to both their education and their personal development over the past 18 months. While many people simply want to put the pandemic behind them, we felt it was important to really explore the impact of Covid-19 on a scientific, economic and historic level to fully appreciate the gravitas of what we’ve lived through.

“The students threw themselves into the challenge and worked incredibly hard to create something which is truly reflective of not just their own experience of coronavirus, but of the experience of our communities as a collective.

“As word got around about what we were trying to achieve, we were overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from external providers and we’re incredibly grateful to our sponsors Ashington Town Council, YMCA Northumberland, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC Local Section – Newcastle upon Tyne and North East Coast (NuTNEC)) and Newbiggin Maritime Centre.

“Through this network, we have been able to source personal recordings from people living on each continent (except Antarctica!) to give a flavour of what life in lockdown was like on an international scale.”

Dr Neil D. Graham, Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry Local Section (NuTNEC), commented:

“The Newcastle-upon-Tyne and North East Coast Local Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry is always happy to support efforts made by students and teachers to advance their understanding and knowledge in chemistry and it’s real-world applications. This is especially true when efforts are made to share this knowledge with others.”

The grand opening of the exhibition will be taking place over two days starting from Saturday 14 August 2021 at YMCA Northumberland in Ashington, followed by a residency at the Newbiggin Maritime Centre between Tuesday 17 August and Saturday 4 September, and culminating in a very special display at Newcastle Cathedral on Sunday 19 September.

To find out more about the project, visit or email