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SAW collaborates with Writers Centre Norwich

18/08/2016   Jenni

The SAW Trust have begun a new collaboration with the Writers Centre Norwich(WCN) to provide science-inspired poetry workshops for adults using current science topics as a starting point for writing.  There are 4 workshops planned for 2016.

The first pilot project took place on the evening of 18th August 2015 and was delivered as a partnership with a group of undergraduate students from the University of East Anglia competing in an international synthetic biology challenge called iGEM ( http://igem.org/Main_Page ).

 ResizedImage300210 NRP UEA Norwich writersworkshop team2

The students wanted a novel approach to exploring the human practices component of their project so the SAW Trust helped the team link with Jonathan Morley from WCN to set up a poetry workshop.   Jonathan invited Esther Morgan, a highly experienced poet and workshop provider to lead the poetry session (http://www.esthermorgan.net/).  Esther came to visit the students at the Norwich Research Park prior to the session and had an afternoon of tours around the laboratories to see what the students were working on.

The poetry session began with a presentation by the students on the science to give all the attending writers an insight into the aims of the research.  Esther then took over providing some warm-up activities linked to the science and then got the scientists to break out into pairs with the writers to discuss the scientific language in more detail.

A great selection of poetry emerged from the workshop and was presented at a jamboree for all competing teams by the Norwich iGEM team in Boston, USA, which is the final stage of the competition.

The team were delighted to be awarded a gold medal for their project and be rated in the top 5 of all 280 teams for their approach to education and public engagement.

The next workshop will focus on antibiotic discovery and is scheduled for February 2016.

Please get in touch if you would like to attend a similar event in future.