Inspire inquisitive brains with Wondermind, combining art, literature and science to explore the human mind

The brief

As part of the Tate‘s exhibition programme for 2010-2011, a major exhibition at Tate Liverpool on “Alice in Wonderland” was curated, showing a diverse collection of works inspired by Lewis Carroll’s books. Tate Kids approached us to collaborate in an online engagement strategy, working with the Wellcome Trust as a funding partner. We quickly realised this was a great opportunity to combine art and science to engage young audiences through imagery, gameplay and video.

Our response

Lewis Carroll‘s Alice in Wonderland has been the inspiration for countless artists across all media. So what keeps the Alice books alive after all these years? Looking at the current state of child psychology and neuroscience shows that the Alice books create characters and situations that brilliantly dramatise and play with essence of many of the changes that go on in the life of a child.

Wondermind is a unique suite of online games and interactive films for children aged 8-12, designed to illustrate the neuroscience of the growing brain in child development in simple, fun ways. The games aim to encourage an understanding of core aspects of neuroscience, including neural plasticity, spatial cognition, memory and language.

Quests include searching for the Cheshire Cat in an increasingly complex maze using reflected light; catching the White Rabbit whilst trying to keep untrodden paths from growing over; and making sure the Mad Hatter serves the right type of tea to his eccentric guests. The games use familiar and engaging mechanics to convey basic concepts of neuroscience to a non-scientific audience.

All the themes were developed in close collaboration with scientists currently working in the field, led by Dr. Michelle de Hann, Reader in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Child Health.

Wondermind also includes a series of interactive videos created by award-winning director Martin Percy that allow players to have conversations with scientists currently working in the field. An associated blog provides a wealth of additional information and artworks for children to discover.

Wondermind is a fun, engaging and illuminating experience which fuses art, literature and science for a young and inquisitive audience.

Designed with portablity and ‘portal-appeal’ the games suite is being distributed using our online publishing strategy. Due to the innovative nature of the project, merging games with video and educational content, Wondermind has been nominated for several design awards since launch.

"Wondermind has been an incredible experience. Complex science concepts were transformed elegantly into addictive, cunningly educational games that were thoroughly grounded in the world of Alice, with a strong and beautiful visual identity. Preloaded are the masters of games with a purpose."

Sharna Jackson, Tate Kids

The Results

  • Awards

    Interactive Media Awards - Kids - Best in Class (2012)
    Lovies - Best Game - Gold (2012)
    Lovies - Best Use of Interactive Video - Silver (2012)
    FWA - Site of the day (2012)

  • Nominations

    BIMA - Education & Outreach (2012)
    BIMA - Leisure & Culture (2012)
    Webby - Youth (2012)
    Webby - Interactive video (2012)
    Webby - Games (2012)
    SXSW - Educational Resource (2012)