Biomakespace Forum

Brainstorm / plan Biomakespace events for Cambridge Science Festival 2018

(Tony Naggs) #1

It is time to start thinking of ideas for Biomakespace events at next year’s Cambridge Science Festival.
The deadline for submitting all the event details (speakers, venue, etc…) to be in the printed programme is Monday 6th November! (Events each get ~50 word description in the programme, and a web page with a picture, the picture/photo for a few selected events are included in the printed edition.)

The Science Festival runs Mon 12th March to Sunday 25th March: Monday to Friday the main events are evening talks to the public at Mill Lane Lecture Rooms (& a few more talks at various museum & university venues); Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th March family events & activities in the city centre including the Guildhall, and the Plant Sciences Marquee (Saturday only); Saturday 24th March events at the university’s West Cambridge campus (e.g. Physics department), Institute of Astronomy, community activities in Eddington; Sunday 25th March Addenbrookes / Biomedical Campus.

Also the science festival in 2018 will be doing some outreach to harder to engage communities in the run up to the festival, targeting north Cambridge and visits to Primary Schools in the region. Deadline for risk assessments & evidence of Public Liability Insurance is 12th February.

For 2017 we had an evening talk (in Plant Sciences department, we were too late to get a slot in Mill Lane), some hands on activities with electrophysiology in the Plant Sciences Marquee, and tours of the Biomakespace.

(Tony Naggs) #2

(Abigail Wood) #3

My thoughts on events:

  1. We should certainly run ‘Meet the Biomakers’ tours again on the weekend in the space, with small bench-top demonstrations and facilitators (we already have sign-up sheets and resources for that)
  2. Having a central weekend event for those who can’t make it to Addenbrookes is a good idea - Jenny says we’ll be able to get a table in the Plant Sciences Marquee again
  3. Evening event - would be great to have another talk in the programme. The ‘Lab It Tuesday’ team might have some good ideas on potential speakers/who to look for…

Lessons learned (from last time, having read the sheet in Gdrive)

  1. Meet the Biomakers - Run tours through EventBrite, but expect variable turnout, ensure we have enough volunteers signed up far in advance (!), ensure we have hands-on/display activities, ensure volunteers have maps/handouts etc. to sign-post to other science festival events, ensure our location is included in said maps.
  2. Ensure our marquee stand can cater to young children as well as older children/adults.

(P.S. You can consider this as me signing up to volunteer for all the events!)

(Katia Smith-Litiere) #4

I think Jenny wrote up some of the ideas we had for this years re activities - it was a combination of events we did last year, with some new thoughts, and an adult only event, possibly at the Guildhall "adult evening"
I can’t find the write up online though…
One of the ideas was to use the plug and play prototype at such an event

(Jenny Molloy) #5

I did take notes, but now I can’t find them…

25 Mar 2018 - Meet the Biomakers

Tours again on the final weekend, which is the Biomedical Campus open weekend.
Look around the space, with small bench-top demonstrations and facilitators (we already have sign-up sheets and resources).
Needs a volunteer to coordinate!

17 Mar - Exhibit (Plant Sciences Marquee and possibly Guildhall Evening Event)

Ideas for exhibits required! @Belgokat hopes the circuits group will have some delos by then! Need to work out who organises the Guildhall part…

Talk in Mill Lane

We considered ‘Extreme citizen sensing’ as a talk topic for a Mill Lane lecture, so we don’t need to supply volunteers etc for that one. Speaker suggestions would be:

@tonyn can you confirm if we have to do anything special to request a spot in Mill Lane? If people approve, I could email one or both of the above.


(Tony Naggs) #6

Very briefly: for Mill Lane & the Guildhall the contact would be Lucy / Science Festival office. Any of the speakers would be great. However I expect we are too late for using Mill Lane, I believe most slots are claimed by the end of September. :frowning:

(Tony Naggs) #7

:bulb: Maybe the talk could be in Clifford Allbutt / Bay 13 on the Biomedical Campus Sunday, concurrently with the tours? The Clinical School should have talks nearby this time.

(Jenny Molloy) #8

Good thought @tonyn! I’ll ask Denise today about that possibility.

(Jenny Molloy) #9

Hi All

Anyone able to volunteer to organise either of the following?

  • Meet the Biomakers
  • Plant Science Marquee Exhibit

If people are happy with and interested in the extreme citizen sensing idea, I’m happy to kick-off organising that one as I know potential speakers and can probably get a response before 6 Nov. Thoughts very much welcome :slight_smile:


(Matt) #10

I’m happy to help with either of the two events. Would meet the Biomakers involve giving tours of the Biomakespace? That would be my first choice. I think it would be fun to have a go at getting some plants and artwork in the lab spaces in time for the tours if you think that’s feasible? As well as preparing some demo material so visitors can look at samples under the various microscopes. Let me know if that sounds worthwhile. I should be able to come to meetings regularly in the new year, and already have much more free headspace now the thesis is done!

(Jenny Molloy) #11

‘Meet the Biomakers’ is sold to @mj365!
Thanks for that and yes, art work and plants would be great. We should have an art/science event in the space now we’re up and running and locate some artists who might be keen to do some work in/for the lab.

Microscope samples would also be great - please hunt people down for suggestions and also make sure the volunteers sign up (this is what we didn’t get done in time last year!).

On that note, here is an interesting video about George Church’s artist in residence:

(Jenny Molloy) #12

Hi All

I have proposed the following events for the Science Festival Programme:

17 Mar 2018 - Be a Biomaker: DIY sensing (exhibit in Plant Sciences Marquee, I chose a title with maximum wriggle room!)
We are still awaiting news on a place in the Guildhall evening event.

25 Mar 2018 - Meet the Biomakers (12:00-16:00 in the Biomakespace)
RSVP (booking opens 12 Feb 2018)
Biomakespace is a new community laboratory for Cambridge, enabling people with a curiosity for engineering with biology to collaborate and learn together. Biomakespace members will run tours of the space and introduce their projects on the hour (first tour at 12:00 and last at 15:00). Whether you’re interested in building sensors with DNA, printing cells, building microscopes or more, get inspired with the biomakers.

25 Mar 2018 - Extreme Citizen Sensing (16:00-17:00 in the Postdoc Centre @ Biomedical Campus)
RSVP (booking opens 12 Feb 2018)
Citizen or community science is growing around the world as people seek to learn more about their environment and change it for the better. In this series of short talks and exhibits, we’ll explore DIY sensors for everything from oil spills to air pollution and radiation. We’ll hear from the developers, researchers and people who are making use of extreme citizen sensing and get hands-on with some devices!


(Tony Naggs) #13

I have just received a clarification that there is no ‘adult only’ event in the Guildhall on the Saturday evening in 2018.

(Jenny Molloy) #14

Hi All

Update from the Science Festival Team.
Tldr: All our events are now confirmed and you can sign up here to volunteer!

Info below may eb of interest to @abigailwood @mj365 @tonyn

Thank you again for your wonderful contributions to the 2018 Cambridge Science Festival.

As you will have seen, your events have now been accepted into the programme and the print programme is being produced now. Please do not make any edits to the Event Management System from now onwards. Please email me directly if you have any questions or queries about this or information about your event that you would like including on the web entry.

I can confirm we got the acceptances for Meet the Biomakers and the Citizen Sensing talk.

The deadline for risk assessments and t-shirt requests will be 9 February. There are templates and example risk assessments on our coordinators webpage at: . Please make sure you include the name of your event on the RA. As always we are happy to receive these early!

Luckily for us, we are repeating events from last year so we’re partly there already!

Bookings will open at 11AM on Monday 12 February 2018, if you are organising your own event bookings, please make sure these open at the same time.

Already scheduled on Eventbrite!

Our next coordinators meeting will be held at 11am on 17 January 2018 in the Council Chamber in Old Schools,
(,0.116351,18 – enter through the gate opposite Great St Mary’s Church and we will be at the door to meet you). We hope to finish in an hour and then have time to answer individual questions. Please confirm your attendance by email to

@tonyn would you be able to attend on our behalf?

Additionally, our Rising Stars Public Engagement course is now open for applications. More details at: Please do share this as widely as you can. The closing date is FRIDAY 12 JANUARY.

^^ relevant for anyone who is a University of Cambridge member!

@kimberly.meechan would you be interested in putting together some event announcements for Meetup and the website and a Twitter image/banner we can use?

(Tony Naggs) #15

I should be able to attend the January meeting. Mostly I expect this to be reminders to brief our event volunteers, reminders for outstanding risk assessments, etc…

(Jenny Molloy) #16

I’m pleased that we have the following speakers confirmed for the Citizen Sensing Event. I’m awaiting a response from one more but I think with only one hour set aside, two is plenty!

Cindy Regalado (UCL)
I am a research associate at University College London, developing and promoting public engagement methodologies for ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) enquiry and ‘doing it together’ science practice. I am a London-based community organiser for the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science sharing my knowledge with communities, other organisers, and stewards on the use of DIY tools for environmental monitoring. I co-founded Citizens without Borders, a London-based group committed to building the public’s capacity to act as civic agents. I lead the initiative “Science has no Borders” through the EU Horizon 2020 project ‘Doing It Together science’, which aims to bridge the gap between public engagement and policy action on Responsible Research and Innovation.
On nice days you’ll find me out kite-mapping a farm or watershed or with my camera filming a mini-documentary.

Helen Pritchard (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Helen is the head of BSc Digital Arts Computing and a lecturer in Computational and Digital Arts at Goldsmiths. As an artist and geographer Helen’s interdisciplinary work brings together the fields of Computational Aesthetics, Geography, Design and Feminist TechnoScience. Her practice is both one of writing and making and these two modes mutually inform each other in order to consider the impact of computational practices on our engagement with environments. Central to Helen’s work is the consideration of co-research, participation and environmental practices. Helen’s practice often emerges as workshops, collaborative events and computational art. She is the co-editor of Data Browser 06: Executing Practices, published by Autonomedia. NY (2017).

Since 2013 Helen has been a member of the European Research Council funded project Citizen Sense. Where in collaboration they have developed ground breaking and internationally recognised participatory research on sensing practices. As both researchers and makers Citizen Sense have developed innovative creative methods that use physical computing and sensing technologies to think through and develop new theories of citizen sensing.

(Matt) #17


awesome news about the speakers, I’ve just added some thoughts to the Risk Assessment for the tours. I have included some thoughts about featuring some light microscopy demonstrations and some plants in the space. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Does anyone know how many and what sorts of working light sources we have available for light microscopy. Ideally a desk lamp or two, at least one posable gooseneck lamp and (I’m dreaming) mercury lamp/LEDs for fluorescence (I would prefer to figure out an LED solution, but the commercial ones are $$$).

This is an ideal scenario, and I’ll happily figure out demonstrations that will manage with less :stuck_out_tongue: but I think there is still time to beg/borrow for some new kit if we need it for demonstrations and beyond. We might be able to recycle/repurpose some stuff, and if an electronics wizz wants to help me put together some LEDs or microscopy or growing plants then that could be a fun short project too.