New arts and science festival in Leeds is pure genius

Dr Jordan Boyle from the University of Leeds, who will host a talk about his work on bio-inspired robotics. Pic: Mark Bickerdike.
Dr Jordan Boyle from the University of Leeds, who will host a talk about his work on bio-inspired robotics. Pic: Mark Bickerdike.
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Leeds will host the world’s first festival celebrating the collaboration between artists, scientists and makers.

The ASMbly festival is free and features an exhibition of new artworks, hands-on workshops, a programme of talks by experts and live music performances that incorporate science and technology.

Professor Ben Whitaker is one of the organisers of the event, which runs from September 18 to 20.

He said: “The best thing about the arts, science and maker scene in Leeds is that it is open to anyone who wants to take part.”

Professor Whitaker added: “Everyone who comes to an event is welcome to be part of our group from then on, and we want to involve anyone with an interest in science, the arts or craft who wants to experiment and make new things.”

University of Leeds physicist, Dr Lorna Dougan, and Huddersfield textile artist Rhiannon Gregory, will host a workshop where visitors can weave a friendship bracelet based on the design of a microscopic protein.

Dr Dougan said: “Weaving is a great way for people to discover how proteins are made, and there are many more benefits to collaboration between artists, scientists and makers.

“When people from different disciplines work together and share skills, we all see our own field from a new point of view, and we create unique knowledge that we couldn’t have made individually.”

Other events include a talk by Dr Jordan Boyle from the University of Leeds, who will explain his work on biorobotics, and writer Jane Taylor who will speak about the history of ideas of the split between mind and body.

On Saturday, September 19, Leeds-based musician Joanne Armitage will round-off the event by making music from live programming of computer algorithms.

On Sunday, September 20, the festival closes with Superposition Sandpit – a three-hour session to generate new project ideas and connections for collaborations between artists, scientists and makers.

The festival will be held at the Live Art Bistro on Regent Street in Leeds. Booking is essential.

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