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The Lab

Fuel and Queen Mary University of London present The Lab, a new commissioning platform for science-inspired artistic explorations that seek to understand and communicate the leading questions of our times. 

Fuel has been forging collaborations between contemporary performance artists and academic researchers for many years.  Fuel’s work in this area was recognised by a grant from the Wellcome Trust through their Sustaining Excellence Fund. Since 2019, Fuel has been working with Dr. Magda Osman to seek out new models for collaborations between artists and researchers and seeking out higher education institutions to partner with who share our passion for stimulating conversations and firing imaginations through the crossover of science.  

In 2020, Fuel, Queen Mary University of London, and Wellcome Trust put out a call for scientists whose research engages in public health, who were looking for new ways to share their ideas through our new commissioning platform, The Lab. Fuel set up 5 selected scientists to meet 20 artists from different creative disciplines to let sparks fly and see how each practice might inspire the other. After a period of development, Fuel commissioned 3 international partnerships to remotely create science-inspired digital projects.  

See below for more information on projects currently under development:  

Project Title: Belongingness 

Scientist: Dr. Sandra Romero (Mexico) 

Artist: Raquel André (Portugal) 

Belongingness is a global conversation about how we identify with each other and what that might tell us about ourselves. Putting themselves under the microscope, performance artist Raquel André and genetic scientist Dr. Sandra Romero purchased commercial ancestry tests to understand what it might mean to belong. Making contact with their 3,000+ newly-identified global relatives, artist and scientist held a series of interviews to learn about why participants are taking genetic tests and together, understand the complex interconnections that define their identities. 

Project Title: The Vaccinium Project 

Scientist: Dr. Laura Bystrom (UK) 

Artist: T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss (Canada) 

Combing cultural heritage and new chemistry storytelling, ethnobotanist and storyteller T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss and food enterprise and plant scientist Dr. Laura Bystrom are developing an augmented reality platform that enables audiences to interact with botanical features and chemical structures that are relevant to the Vaccinium species that are used and important to the indigenous community of Skwxwu7mesh peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Together, their aim is to stimulate a dialogue about scientific research and indigenous knowledge, helping audiences to understand the possibility of respectively bringing these practices together while keeping traditional knowledge and community sacred. 

Vaccinium Project is part of New Conversations, a programme funded and delivered by the British Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Farnham Maltings, and the High Commission of Canada in the UK. 

+ more to be announced.