Tag Archives: Science

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It’s that time of year again. We are packing our notebooks, pencils and cameras for a series of editorial visits, as usual, to the Chelmsford Ideas Festival 2016.

22nd October till the 12th November 2016.

”The Chelmsford Ideas Festival aims to stimulate and inspire people through a set of innovative events, talks and workshops”.

With a much improved web site this year, you can find a range of activities and interests to stimulate the intellect across a variety of themes. Each category of event has its own diary section. See below for what might interest you most.

Arts  |  Heritage  | Kids  |  Technology  |  Your City  | Wellbeing  |  Food

You can see last years event article on conversationsEAST here. This year, 2016, the programme is diverse, inclusive and accessible.

To book individual workshops and events simply open the calendar entry on the web page to get full details of the event and how to book.

Highlights from the programme? We liked…

Rooted Art – Public Art Workshops   25th October, 2016   10.00 to 12.00

‘Let’s make history! Join Artist Nick Haydon (known for his large scale printmaking) and Artist Victoria Button in creating a massive historic mural in Chelmsford city centre, depicting stories of the city’s heritage. Funded by Essex County Council’.

See more about artists Victoria Button and Nick Haydon

We also liked…

Chat About the Old Days – 27th October and 27th November, 2016  – 14.00 to 16.30

‘Come along to this free session – enjoy a cup of tea/coffee and a cake for just £1 and join us in reminiscing about the ‘old days’. (Don’t forget: even teenagers have an ‘old days’ – what do you remember about times past?) 

Our idea is to have a jolly good nostalgic chat session over a cup of tea and then for some of the memories and stories that come out to form the basis of a new community artwork to be displayed at the Ideas Hub. Maybe it will be the start of a series of artworks…who knows?’

Organiser: Artist Max Dolding – see more here.

And also…

ESA’S COPERNICUS PROGRAMME: How is E2V protecting Planet earth?    24th October 19:00 – 21:00

‘Paul Jerram is Chief Engineer for Space Imaging at e2v, Chelmsford. Headquartered in Chelmsford, e2v is bringing life to technology and employs 1750 people globally. e2v partners with customers to provide world-class image sensors and detection subsystems that can help solve the mysteries of the Universe, understand climate change on Earth and much, much more…’

Event follows the Festival launch at Anglia Ruskin University.

The Ideas Festival Chelmsford,  22nd October till the 12th November 2016, is certainly now a premier intellectual and cultural landmark in the regional festival landscape. Visit the web site and book to join in the work. You will not be disappointed.

See the Festival full contact details here.

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There is still funding available for British Science Week during 11th March 2016 to the 20th March, 2016. Both the Kick Start Grants programme for schools with challenges and the Community Grants programme are still available. (If you’re quick…Ed)

Kick Start Grants for schools in challenging circumstances to organise their own events as part of BSW with:

  • Grants of up to £300 for schools to run an activity.
  • Grants of up to £700 for schools to host a science event or activity which involves their students and the local community.

The fund does not put limitations on the type of event/activities that schools can provide. This is entirely up to them.

School activity ideas can include:

    • Carousels of activities from BSA activity packs during lesson time/assembly/lunch time/after school.
    • Quizzes between pupils, classes or even teachers.
    • Presentations from invited speakers on science and/or engineering topics.

Community Grants – of up to £500 for community-based groups and organisations that work directly with audiences who are traditionally under-represented and currently not engaged in science activity.

To be eligible, events and activities must:

  • Target and include hard-to-reach audiences, which include
    • People who are Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME).
    • People with low socio economic status.
    • Young people with anti-social behaviour, including those not in education employment or training (NEET).
    • People living with a disability.
    • Girls and women.
    • People living in a remote and rural location.
  • Be STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related.
  • Require funding in order to take place. (The funding is for events and activities that would not otherwise take place due to lack of funding.)
  • Raise the profile of BSW in the community or have local and/or broad media appeal.

Explore the web pages of British Science Week 2016 – get your community, whatever their age, interested in science.

You might also be intertested in Science: not just for the scientists, a new BSA initiative.

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The Chelmsford Ideas Festival is almost upon us again this year.

chelmsfordideasFestivalimageThe programme of events continues to engage and stimulate Festival-goers across a wide range of cultural, artistic, heritage and innovation themes.

When:  19th October to 1st November 2015

Where: Chelmsford, Essex, UK.

Web: See more details here

The Chair of Changing Chelmsford Malcolm Noble and Ideas Festival Director Leonie Ramondt , and their teams, have put together a well designed and informative Festival programme – with the creative input of the Anglia Ruskin University Design Collective. (Thanks go to Jeff Bray, Becky Lockwood and Daniel Tubl).

pdfIcon4  You can downoad a pdf copy of the programme here.


A couple of key highlights in the programme are offered below…

Engineering Fair at Anglia Ruskin University

Friday 23rd October, 2015 – 10.00am to 4.00pm

Host: Department of Engineering and the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin

Robotics…. Be part of world level engineering breakthroughs, achievements, and products being designed and developed in Chelmsford and Essex. You will have the opportunity to take control and get involved in various activities such as engineering design, 3D printing, using advanced computer models, robotics, aerodynamics, medical engineering, Raspberry Pi and many more. Learn about the change and impact that engineering in Chelmsford and Essex makes nationally and internationally.

Extra Information: Booking required: www.anglia.ac.uk/ community or call 01245684723

Essex Police Future

Thursday 22nd October 2015 – 7.30pm to 9.00pm

Venue: Anglia Ruskin University    Host:  Nick Alston, Essex Police and Crime Commissioner

Essex Police is 175 years old this year. Nick Alston CBE was elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex in 2012. He is currently Chair of the Board of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and Chair of the Police ICT Company Board. He will give us an overview of his experience as Commissioner, reflect on policing in Essex and provide some pointers on the police service of the future.


A strong theme of the Festival this year is the notion of Creating the City of the Future. Ideas for city change, walks through the concept of change in Chelmsford and harnessing the power to create – a three part, multi-location event.

Matthew Taylor of the RSA will be exploring the Power to Create the City, harnessing the thematic concepts enagaged in the Society’s Change Aims.

Enlightened City Making

Host:  The Royal Society of Arts   Venue: Chelmsford Cathedral   Date:  21st October, 2015 – 10.00am to 2.30pm


Creativity is at the heart of innovation, enterprise and good places to live. But we are increasingly expected to be resourceful and self-reliant to shape our communities, with the help of amazing digital tools. The RSA says everyone has the power to create and to stival play a role in enlightened, active communities. Using the RSA ‘Change Aims’ we will look at the power to create the city with Matthew Taylor, head of the RSA.

Extra Information: Booking required. Please book online or ring 07421061054

The conversationsEAST team will be at this event, mapping and reporting on this key Festival conceptual driver. Watch our web pages for a full report…Ed.

See you in Chelmsford! See the full Festival programme on-line here.

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Developing our on-line toolkit…

Here at conversationsEAST we are humanists, who work in web publishing with tools and techniques, more often than not devised by others, to create workflows that allow us to share a range of knowledge and experiences with others.

Imagine our delight when the economic historians and project writers in our office  discovered The Programming Historian.

‘The Programming Historian is an online, open-access, peer-reviewed suite of tutorials that help humanists learn a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and workflows to facilitate their research’.

If you are interested in big data, the humanities, research and have but a passing acquaintance with ‘code’, then this is a great bookmark to preserve.

The Programming Historian contains principles and techniques across a range of disciplines and thematic approaches to digital data manipulation and publishing…

‘Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), Data Management, Data Manipulation, Distant Reading, Mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Network Analysis, Digital Exhibit Building, Programming, and Web Scraping. Our tutorials include nearly a dozen lessons on popular DH tools such as MALLET, Omeka, and QGIS’.

The resources available are all Open Source and are published under a Creative Commons license. They are published to the Gold Open Access Standards and are fully compliant with HEFCE publishing requirements for scholars in the UK.

The portal is a volunteer project and is supported from the Rosenzweig Centre for New Media at the University of New Mexico.

‘This project is an attempt to demonstrate what open access academic publishing can and should be. Please tell your librarian to include the project in your library catalogue’.

We have added it to the conversationsEAST digital toolkit management list for future use.

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The British Science Association have just announced details of grant funding schemes for British Science Week in 2015.

Event dates: 13th to 22nd March 2015

As well as the usual grants by region in the UK, offering their traditional support to schools, this year (2015) sees the introduction of community organisation grants, offering those in the community sector working with ‘hard to reach’ communities the opportunity to build new work using science and discovery as a lever to engagement.

  • Kick Start Grants – grants of £300 for school activities (and up to £700 for schools/communities) in the UK faced with challenging circumstances.
  • Scottish Grant scheme – grants of £200 for schools and £350 for organisations in Scotland.
  • Welsh Grant scheme – grants of £200 for schools and £350 for organsations in Wales.
  • Community Grant scheme (new for 2015) – grants of up to £500 for community-based groups and organisations working with hard to reach groups in the UK whose targeted audience/participants include those not traditionally engaged with science.  (These might be people who “..are from the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic community (BAME); not in education employment or training (NEET); or who live in a remote and rural location”…Ed.)

Although the sums are modest, it is possible with imagination, to see how the seed funding could be used to engage those interested in science, or to give the undiscovered young scientist a chance to take their first step on the road to research, for example.

The Association web site offers the following as eligible activities under the grant scheme.

  • Presentations from invited speakers on science and/or engineering topics.
  • Field trips to local science centres, museums or university science departments.
  • Arranging a talk or workshop with a local STEM ambassador.
  • Recruiting a freelancer to deliver an arts and science activity.
  • Fete, family science days, mini festivals, science fairs.
  • Busking displays run in public venues, such as a supermarket, park or high street.
  • Hands-on workshops.
  • Debates and discussions with scientists.

At conversationsEAST we really warmed to the idea of a cross disciplinary event, say using musicians, artists and electronic engineers to devise an event using music, graphics and an introduction to audio-visual or web technology. The output of the engagement and learning to be put on the web, or streamed live, or turned into a music CD, for example.

As always, if there any Fellows in the region planning an event, we’d be happy to donate web resources from conversationsEAST to contribute to the work. Just let us know?

interneticon  You can read more on the British Science Association Science Week web pages here...

interneticon  See the Science Week funding guidelines here...

interneticon  When ready, you can download activity packs and sample flyers too…

We are looking forward to our Science Week in March 2015 already.



‘Each of us narrates our lives as it suits us…’ says Elena Ferrante in her novel Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. it is possible to recognise the great truth in this reflection. We strive to become what it is we want to be, even sometimes presenting a face to the world that we do not, in truth, cleave to inside us.

Now technology can map our journey from beginning to end. The humble laptop or mobile device can show this life track to the casual visitor. The wonder of the novel is it’s ability to draw us into the individual life, to be able to join the sole reflection of the journey.

The visual displayed below shows the power of aggregation. Making moving pictures of the lives of many. From their birth to the place of their death. In the aggregation comes another story.

It is an informative, broad brush canvas about the creation of communities, cities and centres of culture. It is also, to our mind, both art and science.

See the movie on YouTube You can see the original film on YouTube here…

Researchers at The University of Texas, Dallas have tracked the beginning and end of life of notable figures in history from 600BC to the present day.

The database of notables was drawn from Freebase, a Google owned data service, and the skills and enterprise of the individuals is seen as a proxy for the spread of culture across the globe.

It is a ‘western’ view of cultural dissemination. It omits much influence drawn from the movement of Asian and African peoples through time. One of the most stunning sequences in the film is the movement of people from the east coast of the USA to the west.

It does visualise the rising importance of the West Coast, particularly in the Twentieth Century. Showing how inevitable the collapse of Native American culture had become.

On balance, a great presentation that shows the cultural spread of European ideas, over space and time.

Useful links:

interneticon You can find a thoughtful reflection on the novel by Elena Ferranti here. It is written by Rohan Maitzen.

interneticon The original research was featured in the journal Nature: see Schich, M. et al. Science 345, 558–562 (2014).

interneticon  Freebase data is available for use under open license. Explore the contents here, you can see how to use the data more explicitly here.



The Science Museum Group have just launched the first issue of their bi-annual on-line journal. interneticon See the first edition here.

A collaboration between  the Science Museum (London), the Museum of Science & Industry (Manchester), the National Railway Museum (York) and the National Media Museum (Bradford). The Group has achieved Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status with major UK Research Councils.

The Science Museum Group Journal is an open access publication. Designed to be freely available to all readers and ‘knowledge distributors’…( a conversationsEAST concept? Ed.) The articles can be freely copied and adapted, as long as the appropriate attribution is given, under the terms of the interneticon Creative Commons Attribution licence.

(Care should be taken of course, if the articles contain imagery or data that is subject to copyright by other individuals or organisations).

Ian Blatchford, Director of The Science Museum, writing in this first issue opines…

Academic publishing is going through a period of extraordinary change and its future is somewhat uncertain, but the Science Museum Group Journal takes advantage of being born in a digital age, with all the opportunities that this offers. One of the greatest of these, perhaps, is the ability to share our extraordinary library of images, film and multi-media, not just as wallpaper but as an important and often beautiful primary source in its own right…

Reading the first issue a couple of articles shone out for us as a wonderful way to use the internet to contextualise history.

Florence Grant, a post-doctoral researcher at Yale Centre for British Art writes about George Adams assembling large amounts of ‘philosophical instruments’ for George III in the 1760’s.

The illustrations in the piece echo the research findings about the importance of using old engravings in the design process for new instrumentation – cutting and pasting in the modern vernacular…long before Microsoft Word. interneticon Read more here…

Similarly,  Alice Cliff’s piece on William Bally and his phrenological specimens uses graphics to effect, helping us understand the variety and scope of this Manchester made 3D archive.

The article reveals that Bally used interneticon a pantograph to create his specimens. A piece of equipment well known to sign makers in the mid 20th century before the arrival of the micro-chip and the keyboard. interneticon Read more here…

We enjoyed exploring the first issue of this new journal – academically sound, rigorously produced and open to all. If we may be permitted a thoroughly unprofessional salutation…way to go Science Museum Group!


Image credit:

News Desk image by Markus Winkler, Creative Commons, Unsplash...