Our Place in Space Goes International, Prepares for Launch in Hanoi

Our Place in Space Goes International, Prepares for Launch in Hanoi

Our Place in Space, a scale model of the solar system incorporating a three-dimensional sculpture trail, interactive AR app, and learning and events programmes will touch down in Hanoi this November as part of the British Council’s UK/Viet Nam Season.

Led by Northern Ireland’s leading creative media arts organisation, Nerve Centre, in partnership with Hanoi-based social enterprise Think Playgrounds, Our Place in Space is an 8 km recreation of our solar system designed by artist Oliver Jeffers and astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt. Following a tour of UK cities during 2022 and 2023, this time the space odyssey goes international as it prepares to touch down in the centre of Hanoi from November 12-24.

The one-of-a-kind sculpture trail recreates our solar system at a scale of 591 million to one, with the Sun sculpture measuring 2.35 metres across, Earth 2.2 centimetres and Pluto just 4 millimetres. Each planet will be suspended within a large, brightly coloured arch, with visitors beginning their journey at Thong Nhat Park, before heading out across space past Hoan Kiem lake and ending at Hanoi Botanical Garden.

Along the way, the multi award-winning Our Place in Space app will allow visitors to further explore the solar system, experience the planets in augmented reality, consider 10,000 years of human history and collect virtual space souvenirs – including characters from the world of Oliver Jeffers.

Our Place in Space’s arrival in Hanoi is being delivered as part of the British Council’s UK/Viet Nam Season which runs from June until December 2023. Themed on Climate and the Environment and Shared Heritage, the programme aims to bring together thought leaders, academics, educators, entrepreneurs, and artists from various organisations in the UK and Viet Nam to share ideas and experiences, and discuss existing and future collaborations in the areas of arts and culture, education and English.

The trail and associated programme is an international collaboration which sees Nerve Centre and Think Playgrounds partnering with the Vietnam National Space Centre, Nha Nam Publishing, Hanoi Astronomy Society and Hanoi Creative Design Festival.

David Lewis, Executive Producer at the Nerve Centre, says: “The success of Our Place in Space over the last 18 months has shown the project’s universal appeal. The imaginative and playful experience created by Oliver Jeffers invites us all to look at our solar system in a different way — exploring what it means to live on Earth now, and how we might better share and protect our planet in future. We’re really excited by the opportunity to showcase the best in creativity from Northern Ireland and to collaborate with amazing partners in Viet Nam on what will be a truly memorable experience.”

Donna McGowan, Director of The British Council in Viet Nam, says: “Our Place in Space is more than an epic art installation; it's an exploration of our place in the cosmos, an opportunity to contemplate our existence from a unique perspective, across multiple sectors, whilst connecting with the wider community. As we engage with this inspiring project, thanks to Northern Ireland's Nerve Centre and Viet Nam's Think Playground it underscores the importance of collaboration and partnership in addressing our shared challenges here on Earth. 'Our Place in Space Hanoi' is a testament to the creativity and influence that emerge when the UK and Viet Nam come together, and it exemplifies the spirit of collaborative inspiration throughout the UK/Viet Nam Season. We are proudly presenting 'Our Place in Space Hanoi' as a pivotal part of the UK/Viet Nam Season in the British Council’s 30th year in Viet Nam.”

Dat Nguyen, PR Director of Think Playgrounds, says: "As a social enterprise advocating for more public play spaces, we're thrilled to collaborate on this imaginative project that harnesses the power of playful learning. The Our Place in Space trail and events will promote discovery and inspire appreciation for our planet.”

A launch event will be organised at Thong Nhat Park at 8.30am on Sunday 12 November held in collaboration with partners including the Viet Nam Space Center, Nha Nam Publishing, Hanoi Astronomy Society and Hanoi Creative Design Festival. On 12 and 19 November events will include designing astronaut helmets, joining an interactive book tour and getting creative making space slime and more.

The learning continues beyond the sculpture trail with the free to download Our Place in Space Minecraft world that allows you to journey through the solar system while exploring history. This free map on Minecraft Marketplace has already been downloaded over one million times. Also available are free curriculum-mapped classroom resources created with Oliver Jeffers and Professor Stephen Smartt to integrate engaging space lessons into the classroom. The resources are free to download from

Follow the exciting journey of the Our Place in Space project on social media via its Facebook and Instagram pages (@ourplaceearth) and by using the hashtag #OurPlaceInSpace.

Our Place in Space was originally conceived through a research and development project and presented as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, co-commissioned by Belfast City Council. UNBOXED was designed to celebrate creativity and innovation, with funding from the Northern Ireland Executive, UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government.