Wednesday, 08 February 2023
Black holes, space travel and life on other planets are among the themes for exciting artistic exhibits being featured as part of a unique project to bring the science of space to life at an exhibition and school workshops in Lewisham.
The SPACE Lab project is a collaboration led by Dr Ulrike Kuchner, astrophysicist, artist, and curator from the University of Nottingham and artist and curator Nicola Rae, who bought together seven teams of artists and scientists to create an exhibition and school workshops. It has been made possible by a SPARK funding grant and a contribution from Lewisham Creative Change Fund.
The SPACE Lab exhibition is being shown at APT Studios in Lewisham from the 16 February to the 5 March and will feature a range of artworks that respond to current research about the Universe developed through extended co-creation between astrophysicist and artists.
This is such an exciting project that combines the creative worlds of science and art and we are delighted to be bringing it to Lewisham. The exhibition will showcase experiments and speculations as artworks and we hope to spark curiosity about the Universe in visitors and inspire personal explorations.
Exhibits will use a range of techniques from sculpture and imagery to robotics and performance to explore themes of exoplanetology and biodesign, speculative future scenarios and decolonisation, black holes and sonic visualisations, the cosmic structures of the Universe, space travel and cultural immortality, dark matter and sensing the invisible and terrestrial belonging and adaption to hostility.
As part of the project the team are also running workshops with local primary and secondary schools. “SPACE Lab: Stars in your Eyes” has been developed by artist, educator, and creative technologist Jazmin Morris (UAL, Tech Yard) with support from a number of astronomers. It covers introductions to creative use of AI and 3D modelling related to themes of astronomy and space exploration and allows young people to ask questions and learn about careers in astronomy from diverse role models.
Four workshops have taken place in November, December and January and more are scheduled in March. Beecroft Primary School was one of the first to take part. Nigel Davies, a teacher at the school was involved in the workshop and said: “The children really loved the workshop and we were amazed by the questions they were asking! There was a lot of content packed into the session and they were really wowed by the Artificial Intelligence and enjoyed doing their own 3D modelling.”
Some of the children shared their thoughts after the workshops, Huxley in Year 4 said:” “It was amazing. I do 3D modelling at home now.” Indi in Year 5 said: “It was inspiring and fun.” And Arthur in year 6 said: “I liked talking about the possibilities of other Universes.’
Ulrike adds: “The workshops we have run so far have been fantastic and the children have been really engaged with the content, asking lots of really interesting questions and getting involved in the tasks. We have ensured that the scientists and artists delivering these are from a wide range of backgrounds as we want the children to be able to relate to new and authentic role models. We hope their enthusiasm and interest will continue beyond our visit and inspire them to find out more about science, art and astrophysics, and how to combine them to learn.”
There will also be a workshop for young people at the exhibition on 3 March. Transdisciplinary researcher Mona Nasser and artist Demelza Woodbridge will deliver the MetaFuturism Lab workshop that will connect people to narratives and immersive science fiction storytelling that challenges the values, identity, and legacy of human culture in an era of space travel.
To find out more about the exhibition go to: https://www.aptstudios.org/exhibitions2223-spacelab
More information is available from Dr Ulrike Kuchner on Ulrike.Kuchner@nottingham.ac.uk
Notes to editors:
About the University of Nottingham
Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.
Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.
The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.
We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.