Salon – July 2015

Following on from the Bees in a Tin conference, we have also begun our series of Salons – 5 monthly get-togethers for makers, researchers and do-ers who work collaboratively across disciplines.

At this, our first one, we were joined by co-curator Karen Newman from Birmingham Open Media, and invited speaker Brian Degger talking about his experiences with DIY biology, open source science and makerspaces. Karen also talked about artwork she’d come across that used biological techniques in interesting ways.

Brian Degger

Karen Newman

Brian had also brought in some of his homemade lab kit to demonstrate:


Our main aim with these events is to provide a space where people can link up with a range of possible collaborators and also gain more immediate support with their projects through constructive critique, playtesting, asking questions and presenting prototypes. These were needs that attendees flagged up during the sign-up process and, we’re happy to say, some of the feedback we’ve received afterwards has indicated we managed to start addressing.

The format for each Salon will be flexible, but our first iteration doesn’t seem to have been too far off: following the talks and some refreshments we then did a quick brainstorming activity in small groups.

group activity

We used this to give attendees a chance to interact with people they hadn’t met before and also to dream up some light-hearted “wouldn’t it be great if” DIY Bio projects for the Open Lab space at BOM. Real fish-eye lenses!

There was also a session where practitioners could share their work in progress: we had a playtest of a card-game-meets-interactive-soundscape, a demo of and brainstorm around some spatially-aware pods and a huge camera obscura set up in the corner of the space overlooking the canal!

The next Salon is on the 4th of September. Co-curated by Sarah Ellis, Head of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespear Company, the guest speakers will be Davy and Kristin McGuire.

Check out this example of one of their projects and then go and reserve yourself a place to find out more!

The Icebook (HD) from Davy and Kristin McGuire on Vimeo.