The 5th Edition of Co-Lab's interdisciplinary workshop 'Co-lab OpenPlant':
What is the future of plant research? Can we rethink how we eat, harvest and interact with plants? What if we can generate electricity from our garden? What if each household had its own algae bioreactor? How can GM crops be utilised other than for food consumption? Co-lab open plant series has the objective to create new research ideas around plant synthetic biology and fostering further collaborations by establishing links between designers, artists, and scientists. We will hold our biodesign workshop at University of Cambridge and John Innes Centre - both important institutions contributing to the development of plant science & synthetic biology. This workshop is included as an extra activity within the EU's 'Doing It Together Science' project (DITOs).
DEBATE - In the 5th edition of Co-Lab, we focus on discussion of plant synthetic biology from an ethnographic point of view. When scientific research borrows methodology from ethnography, which is the systematic study of peoples and cultures, discussions can digress beyond the technological barriers of plant science. How can Scientists place their research in the context of culture and society, to understand how their work is perceived by the public? How can artists and designer utilise their projects to reshape public perception on GMO and plant science?
EXPERIMENT - We will have 2 lab sessions:
Plant pigment extraction:
We will perform pigment extractions from natural plants and algae (betalain from beetroot, carotenoids from chili pepper, phycocyanin from spirulina, chlorophyll from spinach, indigo from Indigofera tinctoria). We can use this as a way to explain the function of metabolic pathways and ways to analyse our products.
Making electricity from plant:
Preparation of photovoltaic cells made from plants. Create electricity out of your garden! Learn about electrophysiology. We have our special guest from Cambridge University, Dr. Paolo Bombelli, who will demonstrate how to make electricity from the plant in the workshop! Check out The ‘Moss Table’ project.
IDEATION & PROTOTYPING - Participants will be grouped into small interdisciplinary groups (with a balanced number of scientists and artist/designers) for the final project. Every group will brainstorming about their ideas in the brainstorming workshops, and continue to prototype the ideas on the big making days.
13.00 – 14.00 Introduction
14.00 – 15.00 Synbio technologies
15.00 – 16.00 Ethnographic approaches in research
16.00 – 18.00 Making electricity with plants
10.00 – 11.00 Scientific referencing
11.00 – 12.00 Practical case: Different types of collaboration
13.00 – 14.00 Upscaling technology
14.00 – 15.00 Downstream processing
15.00 – 17.00 Extracting plant pigments
17.00 – 18.00 Make groups
10.00 – 11.00 Debriefing
11.00 – 12.00 Prototyping
13.00 – 14.00 Prototyping
14.00 – 16.00 Documentation
16.00 – 17.00 Presentation
Evening Pizza + drinks
Come join us if you’re interested in following keywords ! Apply here.
#SyntheticBiology #Ethnography #Art #Design #Research #GMO #Electricity #Food #Plant #BioHack #BioDesign #BioArt #interdiciplinary
Co-Lab (means “collaboration” in Japanese) is a hands-on workshop, facilitated by designers and researchers, aiming to foster conversation and interdisciplinarity in biology. Our workshop brings artists, designers and scientists to meet and initiate conversation to explore the possibilities of collaboration in biological design.
OpenPlant is a collaborative initiative between the University of Cambridge, the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich. The initiative promotes interdisciplinary exchange, open technologies for innovation and responsible innovation for sustainable agriculture and conservation.
What will you gain from Co-Lab workshop?
Co-Lab workshops aims to establish links between scientists, artists and designers. If you are a designer or artist, you will learn basic knowledge around synthetic biology and plant science, and explore biology experiments. If you are a scientist, you will learn a different way of thinking, a different type of creativity from art and design, learn about design thinking and methodology. Besides that, every one would learn from each other in the group project during the workshop, and we would love to see everyone can become friends and work together even after the workshop.
GM crops give limitless possibilities to optimize human life, but why does the public reject it? Objection to GM food is admissible - people are cautious of what goes in their mouth. In contrast, the use of GMO in medical, energy production and material engineering receives less objection. Public perception of GM crops are heavily influenced by the context it is placed in. Thus borrowing ideas from ethnography, which is the systematic study of peoples and cultures, discussions can digress beyond the technological barriers of plant science.
- Doing It Together Science (DITOs): #DITscience @TogetherSci : This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 709443