The Arty Scientist 2016

The Arty scientist workshop challenged the stereotype of the mad scientist! It featured 20 scientists, 4 artists, 100 meters of paper, 128 oil pastels and 173 children & parents. It resulted in 83 drawings of children portraying themselves as scientists!
Bronwyn Reid-McDermott discusses her work as a scientist with a young participant at the arty scientist workshop. Bronwyn is a Health care simulation technician in the School of Medicine. She is an an expert in making moulage & special effects makeup on both manikins/actors. These mimic injuries & are used to train Doctors / Nurses. Picture Aengus Mc Mahon.

What do you see when you think of a scientist? An old man, with crazy white hair, wearing a lab coat and goggles while covered in a cloud of smoke? This is the classic perception that many people might have but this is not how scientists look like! An art workshop was designed to bust the myth of the mad Scientist, to open the mind of children on how scientists look like and what type of science they can do!

The workshop was held on Sunday 27th November, during Galway Science and Technology Festival closing day, the Exhibition Day on the campus of the National University of Ireland, Galway.

It hosted 173 participants including 83 children who drew themselves as scientists. During the workshop, children could take inspiration from pictures representing the diversity of NUI Galway Scientists. 20 NUI Galway scientists contributed to the project with 12 of them volunteering to have their pictures taken and displayed in life-size. These pictures gave an opportunity to the children to discuss the different types of scientists and the diversity of the work they do, how they can dress for work, their gender, age or nationality, before imagining themselves as the scientist they could one day be.

Children from 3 to 13 years old drew themselves as scientists on the day, and the range of scientists was wide and included more than 30 different types of scientists including chemist, Zoologist, geologist, mathematician as well as astronaut, perfume scientist, nuclear scientist or tiger scientist.

The feedback from participants was extremely positive with 73% of the public finding the workshop fun and exciting, 100% of the visitors liked to meet artists and scientist. 98% of participants liked to draw themselves as a scientist without necessary wanting to become one– that was the wish of 69% of the artists. 96% of the public would attend the workshop again.

The project was driven by Muriel Grenon, director of the Cell EXPLORERS programme and Adriana Cardinot, member of the Cell EXPLORERS team. It was realised in partnership with Shane Gallagher, auditor of the Art Society and Marina Wild, member of the NUI Galway Arts Office and Marina also is an artist and illustrator whose workshop is in Spiddal, near the city of Galway.

The project was funded by an award from the French Embassy in Dublin in collaboration with Science Week Ireland as well as a bursary from the Galway Science and Technology Festival.

You can see more pictures of the project here . A booklet showcasing the project, the children drawings and the scientists involved will be published soon on this page.

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School of Natural Sciences, Arts and Science Building, National University of Ireland, Galway

Cell EXPLORERS is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under the SFI Discover programme, NUI Galway and the Galway University Foundation.