Expanding Student Perceptions of the Universe through Art

Dr. Gabby Provan collaborates with the Fermynwoods Contemporary Art centre to deliver a workshop helping to expand student perceptions of the multi-wavelength universe.

Fermynwoods Contemporary Art centre specializes in Art + Education, engaging students in a range of educational topics through the medium of art. In September 2020 their educational centre, deep in Fermyn Woods, was the location for a two-day Science+Art workshop, delivered to pupils who have been excluded from school.

Titled ‘What is not visible is not invisible’ , the workshop included a series of activities designed to help expand student perception of the world around them. The scientific theme of the workshop was the multi-wavelength universe, encouraging the student to consider how examining the universe at different wavelengths conveys new information. This theme was then developed by artist Virginie Litzler, to encourage the students to explore the environment around them in infrared, focussing in particular on their infrared imprints.

The workshop was a true ‘blended learning’ experience delivered in-person by the University of Leicester and virtually by art educator James Steventon, who in true sci-fi style appeared remotely in several locations at once: beamed onto the walls of Leicester’s planetarium, inside the education centre, on a monitor to be discovered inside the woods, and on a roaming mobile phone to ensure constant contact with the students.

This workshop demonstrated our ability to work with pupils and artists both in person and remotely, in consideration of current Covid-19 restrictions. Our thanks to Fermynwoods, esp. Emma Davies for proposing this project, and to Emma, James Steventon and Virginie for making it happen.

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