Clare grew up in Abingdon, so offered to speak at one of the monthly meetings of Abingdon Carbon Cutters, the local low carbon group. As well as giving an overview of Particulart and climate change, she touched on craftivism more generally (some of the members were involved in knitting the 7-mile-long pink scarf between AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield) and ozone depletion in particular (her first job was as a student assistant in a team researching ozone chemistry down the road at Harwell).
And she got a bit of publicity for it in the Oxford Mail. Particulart may feature again in Oxfordshire in 2016…
“Up in the Air” pop-up was supposed to feature in the Sidmouth Science Festival on Saturday, but unfortunately other commitments intervened.
Clare did however preach at Sidbury Church on Sunday as part of the Festival. Her topic was “Who has the wisdom?” and she largely spoke about the book of Job, and scientific knowledge and wisdom. But of course Particulart did make an appearance. And maybe the congregation will remember Clare waving around a knitted carbon dioxide as a prop if nothing else.
Greenbelt is a Christian festival “Where faith, arts and justice meet”. Since 1974, it has brought people together to explore these issues, “to ask questions and suggest answers, to find moments of joy in art and music, and moments of celebration in our daily lives.”
In 2015, the Festival theme was The Bright Field, the title of a poem by RS Thomas. The programme included two Pecha Kucha events, each with six talks given by mostly visual artists. I was second in my set, sandwiched in between Katie Duxbury’s amazing costumes, and Kay Morrisson’s talk about paying tax forward and her very new project that may or may not be @TaxitForwardUK. As I said, mostly visual artists.
Pecha Kucha is a new way of doing Powerpoint presentations. There are 20 slides, which must be images only, no text, although one can cheat and have images of text. I also passed around a carbon dioxide molecule as a prop. The slides change automatically every 20 seconds, so the talk is 6 minutes 40 seconds in total. It becomes more of a performance than a presentation, and there was a lot of good energy in the tent. Most importantly for me, the audience laughed at the right places!
On Monday, I took Particulart into the unfamiliar territory – The Ship Inn in the middle of Exeter – as part of the annual worldwide Pint of Science festival.
The talk was one of three on the theme of Sustainable Science, to a goodly crowd squeezed into the Ship’s upstairs room. The pub claims to have been Sir Francis Drake’s favourite watering hole, but I’m not sure what Drake would have made of our talks on solar energy, knitting and cellulose. Maybe he’d have related them to navigation, and the Golden Hind’s rigging and timbers.
Particulart also provided one of the interval activities, as the audience were challenged to assemble molecules from piles of coloured disks nobly cut out by a volunteer. That was followed by a nigh-on impossible quiz about the three subjects.
A key feature of the evening was of course the trip to the bar beforehand, during the interval, and afterwards, which enabled some good discussions. This is one of the main points of Pint of Science, of course.
The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting, fun, relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – all in the pub! We want to provide a platform which allows people to discuss research with the people who carry it out. The main festival takes place annually over three days in the month of May simultaneously in pubs across the world.
Next year’s festival will be on 23-25 May 2016.
Clare has written a blog post reflecting on the development of Particulart, from the initial spark of an idea in conversation with Diana to the exhibition in Real Food, and the responses it provoked both in her and the visitors to the exhibition. We hope you enjoy the read.
Last night, at somewhat short notice, Clare also gave a St Michael’s Lecture, entitled “Particulart, or the art of knitting, chemistry, meditation and gentle protest”. She liked the title so much, she changed the strapline of this website.