We are interested in participating in outreach activities that allow us to communicate our science and research to people outwith the normal scope of academic dissemination. This could involve public lectures and demonstrations, talks in schools and media activities that aim to engage the wider public with cutting-edge ideas in science and create a broader public understanding and enthusiasm for scientific pursuits. I believe a greater appreciation and understanding of science within the general public and popular media is essential for public trust in science and beneficial to facilitating societal advances in science and technology leading to greater quality of life for all. If you would like to discuss possible engagement activities, please drop me an email (p.a.beales@leeds.ac.uk).

Examples of current and past engagement activities

Blurred Lines, 2019-20 (ongoing)

As part of Leeds’ Creative Labs Bragg Edition, we were paired with poet and short story writer Caitlin Stobie to explore shared interests and creative collaboration. We have explored ideas of artifical cells, soft matter applied to medical technologies and new materialism. A mutual curiosity for the blurred lines between living and non-living matter has fuelled our conversations and provided inspiration for creative outputs from Caitlin. Further funding from the Cultural Institute and the Centre for Practice-led Research in the Arts (CePRA) has allowed our collaboration to continue and develop beyond our initial interactions. Our project website contains Caitlin’s poems from the project and details of our joint public engagement activities.

#LOOminaries, 2020 (ongoing)

Who inspires you? Who inspires others? #LOOminaries are people who inspire and influence made from a cardboard toilet roll tube. In collaboration with Prof Lorna Dougan (School of Physics), we have been creating a gallery of #LOOminaries during the COVID19 lockdown. This is designed as an outreach activity for Schools and for science engagement festivals that combines creativity with learning about the influential and inspiration people behind significant advances in science and technology. To see the latest gallery of #LOOminaries visit here, or search for #LOOminaries on Twitter or Instagram.

Anticancer peptide art commission, 2020 (ongoing)

As part of our EPSRC-funded project on membrane-active anticancer peptides, we have commissioned artist Julie Light to produce a sculpture in response to our research that will be¬†displayed in the Bexley Wing of St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. Julie is writing a blog about the process from visiting our labs in Leeds through to experimenting with materials and developing the concepts and ideas for her piece, which can be read here.

Vessel by Jim Bond, 2017
VesselAs part of our EPSRC-funded research into repurposing ESCRT proteins for membrane remodelling to create compartmentalised vesicle architectures as a toolkit for generating artificial cells, we commissioned an artwork inspired by our research as part of our public engagement activites. Vessel by Jim Bond is a kinetic sculpture that takes inspiration from the spiral assembly of ESCRT proteins on the membrane and their ability to drive the membrane to bend and deform. This has been shown at numerous art and science events, including the Superposition’s ASMbly showpiece, Leeds Light Night and at the Royal Society’s Chicheley Hall. See a video of Vessel in action here.

Lab Times

Lab Times, issue 6 2014

Some of our work is highlighted in an article on making artificial cells in the November 2014 issue of Lab Times. The article is written by science journalist Alex Reis and covers recent contributions to the field from several groups around the world. A pdf of this issue is available here.

ASMbly lab 2014
ASMblyIn September 2014, Paul took part in ASMbly lab. This is a week-long collaborative pop-up lab event in Leeds involving artists, scientists and makers (ASM). In collaboration with local artist Andy Wilson, we attempted to speed brew a beer from grain to glass during the lab, using this to explore and disseminate the science of the brewing process. Find out how we got on at our blog that we kept during the project. At the final event people were asked to consider their sensory perceptions of the beer (how it looks, tastes and smells) and learn how different aspects of these are linked to the physics and chemistry of the brewing process.

SET for Britain 2012
Paul BealesPaul was selected to present a poster of some of the group’s research entitled “How Nanotechnology Interacts with Biology” at the House of Commons for the 2012 SET for Britain event. The event aims to engage politicians with the importance of the science and technology research being conducted in the UK’s universities. The picture to the right shows Paul presenting his poster to the Rt. Hon. Hilary Ben, Member of Parliament for Leeds Central and Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

KTN Nanomedicine Mission to Switzerland
KTN NanotechnologyIn May 2011, Paul participated in a nanomedicine mission to Switzerland organised by the Nanotechnology and HealthTech Knowledge Transfer Networks. The trip facilitated networking between UK and Swiss industry and academics. The mission visited EPFL in Lausanne, the Clinam conference in Basel and IBM in Zurich. The mission was led by Prof Lord Alec Broers with 12 UK industrial and academic participants.