First NEWSILK Workshops
The first NewSilk design workshop with material researchers, design researchers and design students was organised in June 2017. The main aims of the workshop were to familiarise the scientists with the designers’ mindset, and vice versa, and to observe how designers embrace synthetic biology without previous knowledge. We wanted also to gain understanding of what kind of collaborative activities would make sense in this project. During the workshop the participants worked individually and in teams, and explored what could future applications of the researched materials be, e.g. adhesives, fibres. Based on the participant's feedback, the most important outcome of the first workshop was the inspiring encounter with new people, from different disciplines. Several participants mentioned that they had gained totally new information and learned a lot about the materials and materials research in general.
The second experimental workshop was organised for the research consortium in collaboration with a bio-artist Margherita Pevere in November 2017. The two-day workshop took place in Biofilia, a special lab for bio-art in Aalto University. The participating team consisted of two designers and seven material scientists. The topic was to explore the growing of microbial cellulose in the context of art, outside the scientific environment, and to explore lab versus DIY protocols. The main aims were to familiarise scientists with artists’ working methods and to explore potential touchpoints between art and material science, especially in the New Silk project. The most important outcome of this workshop were the discussions regarding working methods and how to enhance them through interdisciplinarity, and how the material being alive and active affects research ethics and research protocols.