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Beyond the lab: Exploring art on campus

Since its opening in 2018, the Science Gallery at King’s Guy’s campus has inspired King’s students to leave their lab at lunchtimes and nourish their artistic side. Indeed, the serving of scientific ideas through novel creative media at the Science Gallery has prompted some Biochemistry students to take up further opportunities at the Gallery to run alongside their studies.

Leading the way

Second year Biochemistry BSc student Charlotte Hilton is one of those students. She is currently on the 2019-2020 Science Gallery London Young Leaders Programme. The eight-strong cohort comprises young people who are either students at King’s or have experience of studying, working or living in the Gallery’s home boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth. The diverse group meet twice a month and are united in their passion for communicating science through art and bringing it to a wider audience.

By taking part in the programme, Charlotte hopes to gain insight into creative roles involving scientific research that are outside the lab.

I would love to be that bridge between researchers and artists. My dream is to be behind curating (and sometimes creating) art which teaches people about science.– Charlotte Hilton

A third of the way into the programme, Charlotte has developed her public speaking skills, gained confidence in her ideas and worked with artists on installations within the latest exhibition Genders.

Engaging in meaningful conversations

Science Gallery Mediators engage with visitors and offer a variety of experience. No two shifts are the same and discussion topics range from the abstract to the analytical. Adam Hooda, final year Biochemistry BSc student was part of the initial cohort of mediators and was drawn to the role by the opportunity to give his own interpretation of scientific installations and spark debate. Indeed, during his time as a mediator, Adam has learned how to communicate complex scientific ideas with clarity, which has helped him to present data and research as part of his degree.

Adam worked on the recent On Edge exhibition and the Hooked exhibition about addiction.

The most memorable interaction I had was during Hooked. A visitor spoke with me for almost an hour about his struggle with substance abuse and addiction, and how the experience has given him a greater appreciation for the little things in life, like taking a stroll on a beautiful day. It was incredibly humbling to hear. He was so grateful that our exhibition was raising awareness and changing perceptions around concepts such as harm reduction.– Adam Hooda

Making connections

Afra Aabdien watched the construction of the Science Gallery on her way to the lab as an undergraduate and became curious as to its potential. She started working as a mediator there in the final year of her Biochemistry MSci and this has helped her fulfil her own potential. 

Afra is now studying for a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience.  

Science Gallery has really been a vital part of my degree as I met my master’s supervisor while on shift! From just one conversation, we formed a great relationship and he agreed to supervise my master's project. The great experience from my master's motivated me further to apply for a PhD. I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t worked at the gallery!– Afra Aabdien
Our Biochemistry students are incredibly talented in so many areas, and it’s inspiring to see what Adam, Afra and Charli are doing at the Science Gallery. Communication is a key skill for scientists and their experiences in interpreting the exhibitions for a wide audience are helping them towards study and career success. The Gallery’s work is also a great way to showcase the advances we can make when creative people from different disciplines come together.– Dr Alison Snape, Head of Teaching Department of Biochemistry at King's

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