Dubai, 18 April 2017: As part of its UK/UAE 2017 initiative, the British Council is organising an artistic installation and programme of workshops and talks at Think Science 2017 (18-20 April), a platform for UAE youth designed to develop their knowledge of science and technology. The “Sugar Science” art and science project will bring British architectural sculptors Brendan Jamison and Mark Revels to the UAE for the first time, while University of Oxford professors will give a series of talks providing insight into the wonders of biochemistry.
UK/UAE 2017 is a yearlong festival of cultural exchange between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, which celebrates the long-standing relationship between the two countries and looks to strengthen existing cultural and economic ties. The programme is supported by the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign. Taking place throughout 2017, it includes such events as musical performances, craft showcases, exhibitions, masterclasses, talks and educational workshops.
The Sugar Science project at Think Science consists of a collaborative sculpture installation and a series of six workshops, where students and visitors will work with the artists to explore contemporary city design, architecture, engineering stability and urban planning. Through a fun and playful approach, students will be encouraged to create their own building designs through a 'learning through doing' approach, with Jamison and Revels assisting each participant during one-hour sessions. The resulting creations will be added to the exhibition throughout the weekend.
Also forming part of UK/UAE 2017 is a visit to Think Science by University of Oxford academics Professor Anthony Watts and Dr. Peter Judge, who will be giving talks and hands on demonstrations of biochemistry principles to young scientists, as well as offering advice on degree programmes and admissions to one of the world’s most highly ranked universities. Watts will also be giving an “Open Minds” lecture at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi School at 19.00 on Monday 17th of April, explaining the role light plays in evolution and biology.
Hannah Henderson, Head of UK/UAE 2017 said: “The British Council are delighted to be supporting talks by two of the UK’s brightest scientific minds from the famed Oxford University. In addition to this, bringing architectural sculptors Brendan Jamison and Mark Revels to the UAE will integrate an arts component into the Think Science programming for the first time. Their workshops and interactive exhibition are the perfect cross-pollination of art and science, enabling the Sugar Science project to bring something unique to Think Science audiences.”
Clare Woodcraft-Scott, CEO of Emirates Foundation, said: “Emirates Foundation is delighted to partner with the British Council on UAE/UK 2017. Our Think Science program aims to provide local STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) talent the opportunity to learn more about the appliance of science. We want to excite young Emiratis about the prospects of both studying and working in the STEAM sector. We believe that the presence of exceptional British artists, scientists and academics at our event will help excite youth about the opportunity of STEAM and encourage them to pursue a career in this field, in line with the ambitious industrial development plans of the UAE.”
Gavin Anderson, Director, British Council UAE, said: “Think Science is a fantastic event and we’re happy to be contributing to their fun and educational programme. Our initiatives are designed to engage the imaginations of the UAE’s future scientists and artists with active learning, and will introduce the young participants to a taste of Britain’s best.”
Sugar Science Exhibition
Brendan Jamison and Mark Revels are driven by a passion for cross-pollinating the worlds of art, design, science, engineering, mathematics and urban studies. Jamison creates large sugar cube carvings for Diabetes Educators worldwide, and since 2013 has collaborated with sculptor Mark Revels to create works which combine art and science, with biological forms cross-pollinating with the fields of health, architecture and engineering.
The British Council is commissioning new work by Jamison for the Sugar Science exhibition, and his interpretations of two iconic buildings from the UAE, Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, will form the centrepiece of the exhibition space. Smaller scale structures will be then be created by the public during the workshops and added to the exhibition throughout the weekend.
Thanks to Lulu Hypermarket, the event sponsor, and to Invest Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Science Festival, our other partners, for their support.
Sugar Science Workshops
Based on the concept of mass collaboration through a multi-disciplinary approach, Jamison and Revels will deliver six one-hour workshops in which 20 participants will gather around the sculpture installation to create their own sculptures, their pieces becoming part of the overall exhibition.
Working with the artists-in-residence to explore contemporary city design, architecture, engineering stability and urban planning, students and visitors will be encouraged to create their own building designs through a 'learning through doing' approach.
The workshops will focus on two specific topics: The Science of Sugar and The Science of Sculpture and Architecture.
The Science of Sugar will take the format of a fun 'question and answer' quiz, as participants use the quantity of sugar in several of the sculptures to discuss the global medical crisis of diabetes. Students will guess the number of cubes in sculptures such as the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab, with the sugar content then converted into calories and the amount of insulin required to offset the sugar intake.
The Science of Sculpture and Architecture will focus on an exploration of engineering stability, contemporary design and urban planning. Jamison and Revels will outline how they construct their sugar city buildings, discussing the role of spatial awareness and the focus on maintaining a balance and harmony of urban planning when a city expands.
Students will then be encouraged to use their imagination to create their own freestanding structures within the Sugar Science space, their sculptures becoming part of the overall installation. The artists will be on hand to assist each individual student with advice and techniques on how to build their own sculptures, and experimentation will be encouraged.
Workshop sessions will be held twice daily over the three days of the Think Science event:
Tuesday, April 18th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (for schools only, pre-registration required)
Wednesday, April 19th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am (for schools only, pre-registration required) and from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm (open to the public)
Thursday, April 20th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 12:00 pm to 1:00pm (for schools only, pre-registration required)
University of Oxford Talks
Biochemistry is a fast moving, exciting area of science that addresses the chemistry of living systems, from the simpler life forms of bacteria and plants, to humans, as well as the interplay between them. The molecular nature of the subject gives the insights needed to understand genetics, the nature of diseases, cellular biology and molecular structures. Approaches to drug discovery and design, genetic modifications, stem cell development and medical diagnostics, are all founded in biochemistry.
The University of Oxford has one of the largest and vibrant teaching and research Biochemistry Departments worldwide, and during Think Science, two of the Department’s academics, Professors Anthony Watts and Peter Judge, will give hands-on demonstrations of some biochemistry principles throughout the three days of Think Science, as well as explain the course and admissions to Oxford for students and teachers alike.
'STEM Subjects and Admission to the University of Oxford - An Information Event”
Wednesday 19 April, 15:00 to 16:00
An hour-long discussion session for teachers and parents, with Professor Watts.
With a rich programme spanning the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade, UK/UAE 2017 will explore the themes of community, inclusion and the next generation, in line with UAE Vision 2021. Throughout the year, the British Council will work with a wide range of British and Emirati partners, strengthening existing relationships and creating new collaborations. Top UK institutions and creative practitioners will partner with their UAE counterparts, showcasing British and Emirati talent to engage and inspire audiences across the UAE.
UK/UAE 2017 is organised by the British Council under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.