Stories from the ever-ending world: this afternoon of talks and tastings brings together speakers from microbiology to science fiction to consider what forms of communications or communion might exist in the near future, whether among humans or beyond them. Curated by Chris Fite-Wassilak.
Confirmed participants include: Dr Joseph Cook, Matthew De Abaitua, Ellie Doney, Dr Brenda Parker, and Dr Mark Spencer.
Dr Joseph Cook is an innovator in polar science and science communication. His specific expertise is in the role of microbes in sculpting glaciers and ice sheets and their feedback effects on climate change. He has a track record of scientific research in on-ice camps in the Arctic and over 20 publications in the science literature. In 2018 he released a documentary film in collaboration with the Rolex Institute, astronaut Chris Hadfield and science presenter Jim Alkalili, on the biological secrets of the Greenland Ice Sheet and founded a non-profit organisation dedicated to communicating polar science by blending art and science. He has recently collaborated with musician Hannah Peel on a new audio-visual piece communicating the complexity, power and vulnerability of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Matthew De Abaitua’s debut novel ‘The Red Men’ was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. ‘The Red Men’ is the first of a trilogy of science fiction novels about artificial intelligence that also includes IF THEN (Angry Robot, 2015) and The Destructives (Angry Robot, 2016), described as “Extraordinary visionary… the most intriguing and disturbing near-future speculations published for some years.” (Andy Sawyer, Strange Horizons). His latest book, ‘Self & I: A Memoir of Literary Ambition’ (Eye Books, 2018), is about his time as Will Self’s amanuensis in the 1990s and was described as “a moving lament for a vanished age” (Financial Times) and “an intoxicated madcap romp” (Mail on Sunday). He lectures on creative writing and science fiction at the University of Essex and lives in Hackney.
Ellie Doney is an artist and materials enthusiast who engages in making, cooking and eating with people across disciplines to explore and understand the reciprocal relationships between the materials and creatures we are. She studied Ceramics & Glass at Royal College of Art, and went on to manage the Makespace at the Institute of Making, University College London. She is currently a doctoral research student at the Slade School of Fine Art / Institute of Making with her project: Food & Transformation.
Dr Brenda Parker is a lecturer in Biochemical Engineering at UCL and the co-director of the MSc in Bio-Integrated Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture. For the last 8 years she has worked on applied phycology, beginning with her postdoctoral research on algal biofuels at the University of Cambridge. Her work is highly interdisciplinary, and she is a regular collaborator with the design practice Wayward. Their ‘Algaegarden’ was selected for the International Garden Festival at Jardins de Metis, Quebec in 2011. In 2014 Brenda was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to visit Mongolia, China and India to carry out research on bioremediation of contaminated water and soil. Her current work is a collaboration on Nature-Inspired Engineering with the British Antarctic Survey, and she is also the recipient of an EPSRC GCRF grant to investigate microalgae for the recovery of heavy metal pollution.
Dr Mark Spencer is an experienced and internationally respected botanist. His expertise covers many disciplines including forensic botany, the plants of North-west Europe, invasive species and the history of botanical science. He also works globally as a seasoned writer, public speaker and television presenter. As a forensic botanist, he has worked on various missing person enquiries, murders and other serious crimes.
Chris Fite-Wassilak is a writer and critic based in London. He is a contributing editor of ArtReview and co-organiser with Anne Tallentire of the quarterly event ‘hmn’. His short book of essays Ha-Ha Crystal is published by Copy Press.
This event is free to attend. Booking is required via Eventbrite.