Creative Museum Residency

We were drawn to Cap Science in Bordeaux by the ethos of the institution that supports audience engagement through interactivity with an emphasis on the creative, self-directed participation of all ages in science education. On arriving we were greeted warmly by a friendly and inspiring team who supported us to make the best of our time and access to cutting edge technology in the Fab Lab for up-skilling. As part of our residency programme, we co-designed and delivered a number of hands-on workshops and makers talks for museum staff, members of the public, school children and local makers.

The working title for our project was ‘The Head is a Magic Box’ (La Tête est un Boîte Magique’). It alludes to a Celtic belief that the skull contains the human spirit shared by our ancestors in Ireland and France. The concept has inspired many contemporary artists such as Irish artist Louis Le Brocquy, who created a series of portraits on this theme. One of the most of famous of these is of the Irish writer James Joyce who spent decades in exile in France in contempt of the repressive newly-established Irish State that censored and denigrated his literary works.

The theme of our project was intended to highlight how cross-cultural exchange generates innovative outcomes and new opportunities for learning and artistic exchange. Core to our mission has been the centrality of the arts in STEAM-based education (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths).

 

The outcomes of the experience included Eygptian-inspired sensor-based art-tech works produced with students of Bordeaux International School (9-13 years) during a two-day workshop and other children (8 years) during a drop in maker session. The workshop plans and art-tech kits as well as some other items we designed endure as educational resources for the museum and Fab Lab in the future. We also experimented with design for laser cutting and assembly techniques producing a set of small technology kit boxes, a large box that doubles as an exhibition plinth. We also created housing for light and sound circuits in the form of early 20th century inspired self-assembly lamp and radio that will feature in touring installation ‘Lonsdale’s Lab’.

Overall, it was a fantastic learning experience in a state of the art facility.  We are forever grateful to 127ª Fab Lab, Creative Museums, Cap Sciences, Chester Beatty Library and The Arts Council of Ireland Travel and Training Award for making this possible for us.