Arts & Science festival 2017

The full programme for Arts & Science festival can be found here. The festival is of course open to the public, however we have listed it here under internal events as it’s organized by the University.

We’d like to highlight a couple of specific events that we have supported. Booking is essential for all three of these events:


Thursday, 16 March 2017, Time: 18.30 – 20.00 [Chemical Engineering Atrium Y11 – Free]

To many people, ‘chemistry’ conjures stereotypes of a wild-haired, lab coat-wearing, mad scientist, or perhaps evokes memories of a stern teacher and baffling calculations. The truth is probably somewhere between the two, and we’re inviting you to find out what some of our researchers in the Centre for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Researchactually do.

In this hands-on workshop, keen cook and PhD student James Walker invites participants to explore the parallels between his mum’s hallowed soup recipe and his research developing nanoparticle catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells.

You are cordially invited to this three-course lab-based demonstration and workshop, which includes ‘molecular mixology’ and opportunity for informal discussion over digestifs.

Please note, participants will be working with chemicals to explore the parallels between cooking and chemistry. Please bear this in mind when planning for your appetite!

James is a doctoral researcher in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences


Wednesday, 15 March 2017, Time: 17.15 – 18.15 [Research & Cultural Collections, 32 Pritchatts –  Cost £4 covering materials]

Join artist and technician Sophie Huckfield for a craft-based workshop exploring sustainability and materials research. Participants are invited to cast objects including drink coasters and brooches, using engineering waste or ‘swarf’.

Waste is prevalent in engineering. Due to techniques and processes within production, much of the waste material is thrown away. Particularly in smaller workshops, which do not have the resources of larger companies to recycle.

In a bid to reduce waste, Sophie has been collecting it and experimenting with reuse and upcycling. Through collage of materials, Sophie has created beautiful, unique and meaningful uses for waste in the form of furniture and objects.

Sophie is a Trainee Workshop Technician in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017, Time from 19.00,[Secret city centre location, details will be sent upon booking – Price £20 covering cocktails].

Expanded Intimacy is a new collaborative research project by artist Nuala Clooney and Kaye Winwood, Creative Producer and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Birmingham.

Working in partnership with Steve Williams, an award-winning glassblower based in the School of Chemistry’s glassblowing facility, Kaye and Nuala will produce prototypes of glass vessels designed to sensualise the food and drink experience.

For Arts & Science Festival they will collaborate with Robert Wood (Smultronstalle/The Wilderness/In Rob We Trust Ltd) for an unforgettable evening of culinary cocktail experimentation.

Presented by Kaye Winwood and Nuala Clooney in partnership with University of Birmingham and in collaboration with Robert Wood.


Tuesday, 14 March 2017, 12.30 – 13.30 [Chemical Engineering, Main Lecture Theatre (124)]

Jeremy Pritchard and Alice Roberts explore the biology, ecology and archaeology of trees and wood.

Jeremy asks – Why do trees have rings? Why are some rings bigger than other rings? – and looks at how experiments at the University’s Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) are setting out to find answers as to how trees will respond to climate change.

Alice looks at two archaeological sites with exceptional preservation of wood. At Must Farm, relics include entire Bronze Age roundhouses, down to the handles of axes and wooden buckets. At Bettelbuhl in Germany, archaeologists have been able to determine the precise year in which an Iron Age princess was buried – thanks to tree rings.