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First Campus at Cardiff Met runs Creative Physics Challenge

​09/05/2018

Artsci Creator Penelope Rose Cowley with one of the Saturday School students.

First Campus at Cardiff Metropolitan University, The National Saturday Club Trust, and the Institute of Physics have partnered to organise multidisciplinary Masterclasses for young people aged 14 to 16 years to promote the vital links between art and science.

Theory and practical sessions in physics and art were delivered over the past two weekends, by prominent professionals, who also discussed their own educational and career journeys with the young people.

The first workshop kicked off with an exciting talk from Peri Jones, from the Physics Department at Cardiff University, who explained what cosmic rays are, why they are interesting and how we detect them on earth. This was followed by a hands-on activity devised by Sophie Ward, a final year physics undergraduate at Cardiff University, who explored how scientists can use cosmic rays in all sorts of surprising ways.

The participants were set a task of using real cosmic ray data to map the inside of a pyramid and compare their findings to the known interior layouts, to see if they had been able to discover new rooms. This exact technique has been used in real life to discover new things about the pyramids without damaging them in any way.

After the workshop, Artsci Creator Penelope Rose Cowley talked about her career in merging art and science together. She then continued to explain the creative exploration of cosmic rays showing examples of wax resist and watercolour painting techniques to create vibrant works of art.

She said: "'It is an honour to be working with such a passionate team of tutors and project leaders. They are extremely forward thinking, and their desire to inspire the young people in the audience is deeply genuine. Participants have shown intrigue and enthusiasm with a clear interest and ability to work together and encourage each other.'

Toby Shannon, Public Programmes Manager at the Institute of Physics, said: "It was an absolute delight to collaborate with the First Campus Saturday Club at Cardiff Met on this project. Working with the young people attending the workshops was absolutely brilliant and I was really enthused by their openness to these new ideas and how they approached the creative challenge of making artwork based on physics."

First Campus has been in operation since 2003 and is a partnership between education institutions to help raise aspirations among young people. The initiative runs a number of activities that raise awareness of progression routes into Higher Education.

The National Saturday Clubs were developed by The Sorrel Foundation, which is a London based charity aiming to inspire future artists and scientists. It offers the opportunity for young people to attend a weekly Saturday Club. 

The collaboration between both programmes offers a broad range of multidisciplinary skills and knowledge, making the most of the extensive facilities available at Cardiff School of Art & Design and Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, also at Cardiff Metropolitan University. 

Participants visit from various High schools from across South East Wales, including Barry Comprehensive School; Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School; Cantonian High School; Eastern High School; Fitzalan High School; Heolddu Comprehensive School, Lewis School Pengam; Pontypridd High School; Porth County Community School; St Illtyds Catholic High School; Tonyrefail Comprehensive School; and Willows High School.

All will have the opportunity to have their work exhibited at London's Somerset House in June, and to visit a gallery or museum too.  

For more information on upcoming workshops, visit: https://www.firstcampus.org