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Scopic - 'Stargazing Down a Microscope'

Pupils at the Scopic event


In 2008 Science Engagement acted as the astronomy consultant and local organiser for a joint Durham University / Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre project. Scopic - 'Stargazing Down a Microscope' was a joint science-arts project for schools.

Nearly 300 students from 11 schools in Durham and London took part in this unique project that encouraged young minds to engage in science using the arts.

Students explored images of the world seen through telescopes and microscopes. Inspired by the amazing stories behind these images they create works of art to express what they had learned.

Scopic was launched in January 2008 with a day of workshops at the Royal Albert Hall for teachers taking part in the project. Sessions led by Pete Edwards and artists helped teachers to explore different ways to enthuse students about science using the arts.

Students taking part in the Scopic project looked at a host of scientific images from stem cells to supernovae and chose one image that captured their imagination. They then created a partner for their chosen image: a drawing, painting or piece of 3D art. In response to images from outer space, students created pictures showing the microscopic world. Other students depicted outer space in response to microscope images.

A panel of judges including Baroness Susan Greenfield, Dr Brian May, Sir Patrick Moore and Professor Robert Winston selected work for special mention. The outcome of the project was an exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall during May 2008 followed by a permanent exhibition showcasing the results of the project in the Calman Learning Centre installed in June 2008.