Dr Helen Mason, from the University of Oxford, began the workshop with a presentation entitled Our sun: Friend or Foe? to introduce the children to the topic that the events of the day would be looking at. Mason encouraged the children taking part in the workshop to ask questions and introduced exciting ideas around space travel that correlated with small interactive activities - blending education with fun. The lecture related to areas of science the children had been studying at school and promoted clean and safe alternate energy sources, getting the children to consciously think about their carbon footprints.
The workshop continued FACT’s bold and intriguing mission to combine scientific practice and artistic processes and to fuse the subjects together in innovative ways. Scientific practicality was united with creative imagination as the children were engaged in an activity in which groups were asked to design a ‘Moon Jacket’ helped by the ‘Lunar Mission Control Team’ made up of a scientist, designer and artist. Scientist Helen Mason and artist Helen Schnell enthusiastically promoted the use of imagination in the design challenge asking ‘what elements of the jacket could be used in order to survive on the moon?’. Schnell spoke about some of her fantastic artwork combining outer space and fashion as inspiration for the participants. The team included a film screening that demonstrated NASA’s potential lunar bases to the children in order to make the objective more tangible. Deborah Davidson, a fashion designer, also attended the workshop to help the children translate their thoughts onto paper. The children were asked to think of a mission name and badge alongside the creation of their prototype jacket – once again connecting practicality with creativity.
In a short interview with Davidson, she explained her hopes for the workshop in bringing together subjects within the creative industry. As part of the educational charity The Ideas Foundation, Davids spoke of the importance of fostering a dialogue between subjects in order to bridge the gap between creative and scientific professionals, which could then filter into the educational system and encourage a more diverse programme linking subjects much more fluidly. The workshop proved rewarding and promising for all involved, the activities fostered curiosity and allowed the children to combine logic and coherence with their creative ideas giving them employability skills for the future.
By the end of the session, when asked about their aspirations for the future, the children answered with a plethora of ‘dream jobs’ ranging from fashion designers to astronauts. The workshop stands as an example of the on-going project at FACT to create a more realistic dialogue between Art and Science and enable the public to think more dynamically about this essential relationship. It was incredibly gratifying to see how the children engaged with professionals from different industries and backgrounds, which resulted in the production of a physical prototype that showcased their successful engagement with the workshop.
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