17 February 2015 11:16

The Biomedical and Life Sciences (BLS) Division at Lancaster University is opening its doors to artists who want to explore the theory and practice of microbiological processes.

This is a unique opportunity for five UK artists to experience hands-on work in the microbiology research labs during a two day workshop entitled Microbes as Material: Exploring Artistic Practice using Microbiological Systems.

The workshop is produced in partnership with the Insight research group, Live@LICA and Abandon Normal Devices, and is funded by The Society for General Microbiology. 

The aim of the workshop is to bring artists and scientists together as equal partners with a view to developing new hybrid projects and proposals in the arts and to explore the idea of the science lab as an artists studio. 

Theses will include: linguistic communication and social intelligence of bacteria; selective growth and killing; performativity in the microbiology research lab. The aim is to explore how artists and scientists understand the materials they work with through practical actions and conceptual framing of the scientific process.

The workshop will take place over two days in the BLS microbiology labs and in the Peter Scott gallery at Live@LICA. The format will involve hands-on ‘wet lab’ sessions learning basic microscopy, bacterial manipulation, how to count microbes, methods for investigating quorum sensing and antibiotic resistance detection. There will be the chance to examine the haptic skills of the microbiologist and the performance of aseptic technique. There will be a networking event to talk to staff and students about their work. Part of the second day will be spent transposing some of the ideas and techniques from the lab space into our gallery space where there will be a  discussion about the nature of art-science collaborations.

Participants will include members of the BLS team at Lancaster who have international reputations in their specialist areas such as tropical diseases, ecology of microbes, viral diseases, microbiology of the Antarctic, inflammatory bowel disease and insect microbe symbioses. Members are actively seeking collaborations with artists to further enhance their own practice and provide topics for future joint funded microbiology or biomedical themed projects.


The workshop is open to artists working in any artform who should have an established background in their respective fields and be able to demonstrate why they are interested in the workshop, and how it might benefit their practice. The artists will be expected to make their activity open to audiences online, for example via a blog, Flickr or social media. The workshop is open to applications from artists working in any artform, locally and nationally within the UK, no previous experience in the biosciences is necessary.


·     The workshop will run from 10am - 5.30pm on 25 & 26 Mar 2015

·     Participants must be available to attend the whole workshop

·     The cost of UK travel by train and accommodation on campus on the night of the 25 Mar will be covered for each participant.

Deadline for applications: Friday 27 Feb, 2015, 6pm

Successful applicants contacted: w/c 2 Mar

Workshop dates: 25 & 26 Mar, 10am – 5.30pm



Apply by sending a 300 word statement detailing:

·     Why you are interested in the workshop

·     How the workshop will benefit your practice

Also include:

·     Your CV (max 2 A4 pages)

·     Links to examples of your previous work.

Applications should be submitted in PDF, Word (.doc) or RTF format by email to hello@andfestival.org.uk

Please contact r.dillon@lancaster.ac.uk if you have any further questions.