Manchester Science Festival 2016.

On Saturday I helped with a monoprinting workshop as part of Manchester Science Festival 2016. We used monoprinting to engage with young people and tell them about the Peppered Moth. It was a lovely experienced and helped me reflect on my own rigid approach to monoprinting and image making. It has been a long time since I practiced monoprinting and at first I was so uptight thinking of the outcome. I felt my images were stiff and lifeless. The children delivered loose and carefree images that automatically give them character and charm. This particular kind of image making was effective because it is so simple and quick it enabled the children to be prolific and kept them fully engaged. Some sat with us for at least half an hour without getting bored.

Around the pitch there were other science based activities including robot poetry, where a computer programme read back the children’s writing to them in a robot voice; a mini exhibition of images depicting what the children thought a scientist looked like; a circuit building workshop; and a range of interactive cards that became 3d when scanned through an image app. The day was a success with 134 children engaging with us about science through art. I will sign off with the poem written by scientist Sam Illingworth:

Arising from our ashen pit of toil,

As forge and mill did shape this unkempt land;

The blackness of the trees from coal and oil,

Contrasted with the skin nature had planned.

A single, fragile pearl encased in jet,

Your pallor marked you out for all to see;

In contrast to our progress, blood and sweat,

Your population had no industry.

And then from deep within you came a switch,

We came across your shadow in the sky;

Your alabaster pelt had turned to pitch,

Forced to adapt so that you would not die.

I wonder if we ever get it right,

Will you turn back from darkness into light?

Sam is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at MMU and a Poet.

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