Winning students in the LMB’s “Imagining the Brain” competition recently attended an awards ceremony at an exhibition of their work at the LMB. The art-science competition is an LMB outreach project for Cambridgeshire students that aims to inspire young artists to think about and communicate science, and this year nearly 70 entries were received.
The artists had a choice of four topics to research and illustrate: the teenage brain, neurotechnology, food for thought and memory. Yvonne Vallis, from the LMB’s Neurobiology Division, who organised the event said “Each of the participating schools devoted an entire term of the art curriculum to this project, and it inspired huge enthusiasm and support in the teachers and pupils”.
First prize of £120 in the main exhibition, for students over 16 years old, was awarded to Hossein Najafi, from Cambridge Regional College (CRC) for his haunting installation on memory (pictured). Second prize of £90 went to Jodie Searle from Netherhall Sixth Form, with Thea de Chavez (pictured), also from Netherhall, taking the third prize (£60).
Hugh Pelham, LMB Director, presented the prizes, funded by the MRC, to the winning students. He also presented awards of £50 Amazon vouchers generously donated by STARLAB to the three winners of the competition for 13-14 year olds, Adam Hill, Eliot Mann and Joe Nichols, all from Bottisham Village College.
The quality of the artwork was praised by judges Bryony Graham of Wysing Arts, Ian Crighton of the Fitzwilliam Museum & National Gallery and Mathias Pasche from the LMB’s light microscopy team. Students as young as 13 years were able to take on board very complex concepts and express them using artwork in a very effective way. The project helped make science accessible and relevant to young people who may not necessarily pursue science as a career.
To finish the awards ceremony, Edward Parkhouse, previous winner of the competition and artist in residence at the LMB in 2012, presented Nigel Unwin, former head of the LMB’s Neurobiology Division, with a beautiful painting inspired by Nigel’s work on the structure of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.