To learn more about biomaterials, protocols and processes I went to London to join the Co-lab Workshop about biomaterials at UCL and the Institute of Making. Within 3 days I worked together with Designers, Artists and Scientists on a project, learned about Algae and Bioreactors, Bacterial Inks and was very fascinated about bioluminescent Algae.



About the Workshop:
‘Co-Lab’ (“collaboration” in Japanese) is a hands-on workshop facilitated by designers and researchers, aiming to foster the creation of interdisciplinary projects in biology. We believe that core science and arts are both creative fields of study. We aggregate designers and artists to learn and explore biology, and encourage scientists to adopt an artistic and design-focused approach. Co-Lab brings together artists, designers and scientists to meet and initiate collaboration. The objective of Co-Lab biomaterial is the development of new biological materials and applications for them. Two independent sessions of the workshop will take place.

Dates :
Session 1: 13-15 February

Outline of the workshop :
Over three days, participants will be introduced to biomaterials found in the environment, with a special focus on those of microbial origin:

Gluconacetobacter xylinus + Saccharomyces spp. (Kombucha): microbial cellulose, tissues, bacterial leather…
Streptomyces coelicolor: bacterial ink, watercolor, spore formation…
Vibrio fischeri: bioluminescence…
Physarum polycephalum (slime mold): behaviour, multicellularity…
Arthrospira spp. (spirulina): CO2 fixing, food supplement…

This will be completed with a design workshop, with the objective of showcasing the different methodologies and reasoning across disciplines. This workshop will be based on narratives stories developed individually by the participants, which will then engage in groups from 3 to 5 people to work on their biomaterial-inspired project.

The outcome of the projects will be in the form of a physical prototype, a project proposal or an object, and a focus will be dedicated to the documentation and presentation of the ideas.

We will also invite experts and professors to give short talks about their topic, but keeping the space free for students to have peer-to-peer exchanges.

Interdisciplinarity is a tool to solve complex problems that are beyond the reach of any discipline alone. To be able to do this, many soft-skills need to be developed. We believe that conceptualisation, inter-cultural communication, project-based learning, adaptation and willingness to learn are central to face the challenges of this emerging new world. This workshop is crafted by scientists and designers in Paris and London from the association Open Science School.


Posted by:Svenja Keune

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