Creative Learning in Anatomy

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Facial muscles made from wax on plastic skulls, How Do We Make Facial Expressions?

I am a Teaching Fellow in Anatomy and a freelance Medical Illustrator with a passion for the enhancement of anatomy education through the use of art and technology. Anatomy is a visual subject; one which students must be hands-on with to allow for them to understand the three-dimensional composition of the body. The use of creative learning techniques compliments anatomy education extremely well as it allows students to recreate the anatomy through different materials. I am interested in the different resources we can create for students outside the anatomy lab to aid in their learning, but also the resources we can offer to people with an interest in human anatomy, so what could be a better place than the Festival of Creative Learning?

As part of the Festival of Creative Learning I organised two arts-based workshops, with the help of my colleagues, focusing on different areas of the body; How Do We Make Facial Expressions? and Art-Beat: Art and Anatomy Presents Clay Hearts. Both workshops were hands-on creating the anatomy from either wax or clay, to build up a three-dimensional representation of the muscles of facial expression or the structure of the heart.

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Anatomical clay hearts, Art-Beat: Art and Anatomy Presents Clay Hearts

The workshops were open to anyone with an interest in human anatomy and trying new creative ways of learning. Both workshops had to accommodate for the varying levels of anatomical knowledge to allow for everyone to understand and also to enjoy the information they were learning. Therefore for both workshops I used a presentation to display images and anatomical terminology to help guide the attendees through the anatomy.

The goal of the workshops was for the attendees to feel that they had learnt something new by the end of the workshop, whether that be anatomical information or a new artistic skill. The great thing about using art as a learning resource is that it can make your mind focus on the task of creating something, and help you relax from our busy everyday lives. This kind of learning technique also allows for us to create an end product, which can be taken home and admired, such as the clay hearts, or photos taken to show everyone your creation, like the muscles of facial expression sculptures.

Both workshops received positive feedback, which I was extremely pleased about, not only as it showed people enjoyed the workshops, but also because the comments showed that people left feeling like that had learnt something new. The words used to describe the workshops were brilliant; therapeutic, fun, innovative and relaxing, to name a few! The Festival of Creative Learning was an excellent place to try out these new ideas, and I would highly recommend the festival to anyone who wants to try out a new idea!

To find out more about ArtBeat: Art & Anatomy Edinburgh, a group running art-based anatomy workshops at the University of Edinburgh, follow us on Twitter @ArtbeatEd and on Facebook @artbeatedinburgh. You can also keep up-to-date with anatomy events on the Anatomy@Edinburgh website; www.ed.ac.uk/anatomy or follow us on Twitter @AnatomyatEd.

Thanks for reading and I hope this inspires more people to think about using art to learn more about the human body!

Victoria McCulloch

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Learn and Teach with Lynda.com

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We’re Andy Todd and Andrew Kirk and we’re IT Trainers from the Digital Skills and Training team, Information Services. We design, develop and deliver IT and digital skills training events and materials for staff and students across the University. Our team also runs the University’s Lynda.com service, which provides staff and students 24/7 access to a free library of 250,000+ HD videos tutorials in IT, digital, business and creative skills – delivered by industry experts.

Having previously attended (and enjoyed) Festival of Creative Learning events ourselves, we were inspired to develop and run our own event for this fantastic festival.

Our two, two hour events, ‘Learning and Teaching with Lynda.com’ introduced attendees to the Lynda.com service, showing them how easily the service could be used to learn new skills, or embed Lynda.com content into teaching. We taught attendees how to search for, view and share content, curate and share their own view/course playlists, link certificates to LinkedIn profiles, and download content for offline viewing.

We loved delivering these sessions and found it to be a great way for us to speak to staff and students to find out which digital skills they were passionate about learning or improving, and how they intended to do so before learning about Lynda.com.  It was particularly satisfying for us to hear how positively attendees spoke about the Lynda.com service after we had demonstrated and they had used it, and how important and valuable they believed it to be as a free resource for our staff and students.

Overall, the event feedback received was really positive, with several attendees stating an improved confidence using the Lynda.com service as a result of attending our event, with all attendees stating that they would recommend it to others.

Given how much we enjoyed running events this year, we’ll definitely be applying to run some more next year – so keep an eye out for us in the event list.

If you happened to miss this event don’t worry, we enjoyed it so much we’ve decided to make it a permanent offering. Find current/future dates, and booking links for the ‘Learn and Teach with Lynda.com’ course on our webpage at: https://edin.ac/2JdwJgr

To find out more about the Digital Skills and Training team, please visit www.ed.ac.uk/is/skills. For more information on our Lynda.com service including how to get signed up, please visit www.ed.ac.uk/is/lynda.

 

Andy Todd and Andrew Kirk

Digital Skills and Training

Information Services Group

COOKING WITH SCIENCE #FCL18: STORY & OUTCOME

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About me

Hi everyone I’m Kostas, one of the many event organisers of FCL18. My event was “Cooking with Science: From molecular gastronomy to gourmet cooking”. I’m a PhD student, with a background in Electronics & Electrical Engineering. Nothing to do with cooking!

Why I got involved in the Festival

The Festival was an opportunity to change people’s attitude towards cooking!

Food science is a hobby and passion of mine. It has changed the way I cook, or even shop for food. You read product labels with a different understanding! I wanted to share the things I’ve learned with others.

The science-part is surprisingly fascinating, touching upon soft-matter chemistry and physics. The cooking-part is a platform to express creativity. Such themes are at the heart of the Festival of Creative Learning. Not to mention, you literally get to taste your creations!

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“Tasting our creations”: Super-creamy ice-cream using dry-ice and thickening agents

Cooking with Science: A workshop

The event’s theme was “how scientific principles lead to better cooking”. More than just demonstrating science using cooking. Each recipe started with an overview of the science and equipment, followed by participants doing the cooking. We used thermometers, scales accurate to 0.1 milligram, and some unusual ingredients. Here are some highlights:

Chocolate-flavoured modernist mousse: We discussed thickening agents and viscosity, then used Xanthan Gum to make a mousse.

Carotene butter using a centrifuge: We explored emulsions and emulsifiers, then used carrot juice to make carrot butter. This was a tough recipe, but we had fun using a DIY-centrifuge made out of a salad-spinner.

Orange juice fluid-gel: The gooiest part of the day. We discussed gelling agents and the peculiar case of fluid-gels, which are something between a liquid and a solid. The gel tasted better than it looked.

Super-creamy ice-cream: Everyone’s favourite! We discussed ice crystal formation and its impact on ice-cream texture, then we made some very tasty ice-cream and churned it using dry-ice.

Impact & future plans

Running this event for the first time was quite challenging. Some of the recipes were at an experimental stage. I can only applaud the amazing work of the participants, who kept going even when things got messy (literally!). In the feedback, most participants said they picked up new skills, and planned to try out some of the recipes at home. I am hoping that some may develop a passion for food science.

I hope to use all I’ve learned to run more events like this. Cooking gets people’s attention, so it is perfect for public engagement and outreach. I’d like to try this out in science festivals.

While organising the event, I met people from various Schools and Institutes throughout the University. Several showed interest in working together to run more food science events or mini research projects. Fingers crossed, cross-disciplinary collaborations may be coming up.

Future events will be announced through my social media and blog (scicooking.blogspot.co.uk).

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The incredible cooking squad of day two

Kostas Bantounos

Sharing Stories From #FCL18

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by Mihaela Bodlovic

It is seven weeks today since the curated week of the Festival of Creative Learning (19th – 23rd February) started and we are already well along with planning for the 2019 Festival. Jennifer and I are still processing the feedback and evaluations from the week and aiming to refine our processes and resources over the summer, but early indications suggest it was a great success! Compared to last year when we spent a whole week in ‘Festival Decompression’, locked away in a quiet room getting our heads round our first year at the helm, this year we only spent a half day planning our summer work priorities, suggesting we have now found our feet.

One of the creative outputs we commissioned for this year was a new Festival Film, expertly crafted by Archie Crofton. We are absolutely delighted with the result and strongly encourage you to watch and share widely as a celebration of one of many great initiatives at the University of Edinburgh. The full film is available on Mediahopper. Alongside the film, we also invested in a full portfolio of photos from many events, captured by expert photographer Mihaela Bodlovic. A selection of these photos have or will be shared on our social media channels over the coming weeks. View the first album of day one on our Facebook page.

 Organiser Stories

It is always a pleasure to read the stories that appear in various creative formats from our Event Organisers. Some of them will be sharing with you directly over the coming months via this blog, so stay tuned. Below are some examples of records that are available for your reading pleasure, providing an insight into some of the events and activities that took place during the week.

Finally, in our organiser survey this year one of the questions was ‘If you were to tell a friend about what your most memorable experience was over the course of preparing for and delivering your event, what would it be?’ These are some of my personal favourites:

  • Running around University campus carrying ice-cream mix, dry-ice and a large stand mixer.
  • The event itself and the pleasant interaction with people, those who attended our event really were passionate about the topic, and that was great to see.
  • The creation and strengthening of the community.
  • It is very refreshing to be involved in academic dynamism and get to know people from different backgrounds.

 

Monitor our website for pop-up events taking place during the rest of the year.

The best souvenir from Edinburgh

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I read somewhere that words and ideas are big stones in a river. Jumping from one to another you can get to the other side. However, if you always jump on the same ones, you always end up at the same point. The edge of the river is long and there are lots of different flowers.

On February 16th, at 10 pm, I arrived in Edinburgh to attend The Festival of Creative Learning. Pulling my bags on the steep streets, the only noise in the city was the little wheels of my luggage. Cloc cloc cloc. All the rest was quiet and beautiful and magnificent.

I am currently working as the Communications and Outreach Technician at the Institut de Neurociències of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (INc-UAB). My tasks include, among others, designing activities to share with the general public what researchers do, and helping to establish a dialogue between scientists and society, for a better and more responsible research.

I usually look on the internet to find out what is going on in Science Communication and Public Engagement in other institutions, to find inspiration to do my job. That is how I discovered the Festival, which seemed an amazing initiative to me. I contacted Jennifer Williams, Festival Coordinator, and she told me they were open to receive my visit. Thanks to an Erasmus grant and all the help Lucy Ridley, Festival Administrator, Natalie Poyser, Senior Admin Officer – Business Operations, and Jennifer gave me, there I was, ready for new ideas!

By ‘new ideas’ I mean two different things. On one hand, they are different solutions to a challenge, using tools that are not the usual ones. It is an excellent new idea to explain what rubisco does through a virtual reality game in which you are the enzyme and have to capture carbon dioxide to convert it into sugar. It must be what creative means. The Festival was full of creative ideas that made me want to know more about the world.

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On the other hand, a ‘new idea’ is a new thought that opens a fresh perspective on a thing that you already knew. Like when you suddenly understand the lyrics of a song you sang when you were a child. It is impossible to return to the previous point anymore, as your perception is changed forever. This should be what learning means. I learned a lot at the Festival, about all sorts of things: minerals, language, folklore, plants, poetry, witches…

I am so grateful to the Institute for the Academic Development for giving me the chance to attend the Festival. I would especially like to thank Natalie for all the paperwork, and Jennifer and Lucy for organizing everything. I could feel all the energy and love they put on the Festival, and I think that is one of the reasons that make the project great. I would also like to thank the people I had meetings with, who shared their brilliant work with me: Dr. Jane Haley, Dr. Heather Rea, Dr. James Howie, Colin Sanderson and Stuart Dunbar. Talking to all of them was very, very interesting for me.

I came back home full of vitality and happiness. Everybody had been so generous with me and had put so many new stones in my river- the best souvenir I could ever bring home. Now it is time to explore the edge and smell all these beautiful flowers.

Roser Bastida Barau

David Claerbout, internationally acclaimed video artist

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David Claerbout, ‘The Pure Necessity’, 2016

There is Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan and King Louie. There are the elephants, vultures and wolves. But you’ve never seen the characters of the 1967 classic The Jungle Book behave like this before. They look like the singing, dancing characters of Disney’s original, but they act like real animals in the zoo.

In another video a woman emerges from a building carrying a tray of drinks, the film slowed down so much that her movements are almost frozen. Observing – close-up – you feel part of an intimate series of silent motions, seeing something that might usually go unnoticed. But as the camera pulls back the shadows on the walls are revealed. They move quickly, tracing hours in just a few moments so that you realise that the video consists of two very different timescales, minutely edited together to create a single, seamless – yet impossible – scene.

Created by the Belgian artist David Claerbout these videos are composed with great subtlety and subterfuge. They are part of an exhibition at the University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery that presents six of his intriguing explorations of image-making.

A cat and bird sit alongside each other in another of Claerbout’s videos. What they are doing – you might say – is not killing each other. As simple as it may seem this small video piece runs against our expectations and in doing so highlights an aspect of how we perceive the world. In this case we perceive something, a natural animosity, which is not there at all, but has been conditioned by deep-rooted assumptions. A giant slideshow on the main wall of the exhibition shows people gathered on a beach for some unknown purpose. It is a moment captured from lots of different angles, but it is hard to imagine how it could have been achieved and where the significance of this event lies.

As with many of Claerbout’s works there is also a clear recognition of the changes taking place as a result of digital technologies. Upstairs, a camera-less film takes you on a convincing journey through a woodland (Claerbout gives just enough away, for example by shifting foliage types from European to Amazonian to make you question its veracity). Yet when the ‘camera’ retreats out of a small grove into a largely flat farmed region that could never contain the woodland you realise Claerbout is playing with expectations about how reality should behave. Another work frames an image of a beautiful ornamental garden – accompanied by sounds of birdsong – only to pull back to reveal that it is a poster on the wall of a bleak modern apartment building. Forced to re-evaluate what you are seeing, these works make you consider the connections between the precarious position of meaning in the digital realm and our modern living conditions.

Throughout the exhibition you get a gnawing feeling that something strange is going on. The works are gently unsettling, difficult to pin down. And this is precisely why Claerbout is internationally recognised for work that is truly affecting. With the disquiet or suspicion his work instils you are able to really feel out the seams that connect the fabric of reality with the fabric of images.

If you want to find out more then check out David Claerbout’s artist talk at Edinburgh College of Art, which is part of the Festival of Creative Learning.

The exhibition David Claerbout runs at Talbot Rice Gallery from 24 February – 5 May 2018, admission free. For more information please visit www.trg.ed.ac.uk.

 

James Clegg, Assistant Curator

Talbot Rice Gallery

Festival Fever

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Well I can’t quite believe it, but the Festival of Creative Learning is nearly here again, and it is shaping up to be one remarkable week!

Last year I had only just started a few months before the Festival, so it felt as if the main task was getting my head around what in the world it all was and how best I could help support the brilliant organisers to realise their dream events. It was a wild ride of a Festival and there are so many memories I treasure, even though I managed to come down with a not very creative cold. In spite of that, I sniffled and sneezed my way through the Birds and the Bees board game, finding penguin love to the jungle music of monkeys and birds in Potterrow’s trees. I watched the bright colours drawn out of the dyeing vats by attendees at the Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Project’s event (they’re working their natural magic again this year! Check it out at: Colouring Outside the Lines: Medieval Pigments & How to Use Them.  I loved seeing so many smiling faces folding double headed swans in concentrated silence at the Hyperbolic Origami session.

My wonderful and patient colleague, Lucy Ridley, and I then spent the summer reviewing our processes and the feedback we received from organisers and attendees of the Festival. We came up with a whole raft of experiments to implement in order to test what we could streamline and smooth. We have been delighted to see these changes bearing fruit, as we have worked with partners to update and re-skin our website, have slimmed down and tightened up our application forms and administrative processes and have switched up the way we communicate with and gather together our organisers. All in all the changes seem to be working to make the Festival even more creative, energised and enjoyable than before – hooray!

This year we have a remarkable number of events across an extraordinary range of topics and activities. I can hardly look at the events programme (with the help of our new and improved handy calendar search widget) without wishing I had a cloning machine as I want to go to EVERYTHING!

Some of my highlights are as follows, but I do encourage you to have a look as I bet there will be many, or at least one or two, that you’ll be raring to sign up for…

EMPS: 24-hour Filmmaking Competition

HYPED Local Challenge

Reliving the Rhino Head: Jim Haynes’ Paperback Bookstore Revived

The Mobile Campus: Imagining The Future of Distributed Education at the University of Edinburgh

The Siege of Infosec: A Medieval Perspective on Information Security

Women in Medicine – a Wikipedia edit-a-thon

Keep an eye out for Lucy and me in our Festival Hoodies – we will be popping into events throughout the week and would love to hear all about your Festival experience.

Also a few notes for Festival Organisers before I go:

Communications

You’re all doing such a brilliant job – please do keep spreading the word about the Festival and your events. We recommend social media (be sure to use #FCL18 and we will repost), lecture shout outs and popping into other events to spread the word. Remember that promoting the events of others can often mean that they will spread the word about your event so support others and trade promotion when possible.

Impact and Legacy

Don’t forget that your event means more than what happens in the room on the day. How will you capture your event? Will you write a blog about it (if so, please send it to us for posting on the Festival blog post)? Will you photograph it? Will you film it? Will you share it on social media as it is taking place, and encourage your attendees to do so as well? Think about how you will document your event and tell the story afterwards. If your event goes on to have a life after the Festival, making real world changes in the teaching and learning at the University of Edinburgh and beyond – please tell us!

Evaluation and Attendance

Please remember to take attendance at your events and to prepare and send out a post-event survey to your attendees. It is so important to get a sense of what works and what can be improved, both for us as Festival Coordinators and for you as Event Organisers. Try to keep your surveys short and simple and make sure you are only asking questions that will supply information that will be useful going forward. We have a survey template in our resources that you can use if you like.

Think about interesting and creative ways to evaluate your event – for instance, ask people to Tweet/post their reactions, or have them fill out a little sticky note ‘leaf’ and make a feedback tree for people to leave their thoughts on as they go.

Hopefully I will manage to get through the Festival without a cold this year, though one thing is certain – I have Festival Fever and the only cure is a week of innovative, mindful, experimental, playful and joyful creative fun!

 

Jennifer Williams, Projects & Engagement Coordinator

Institute for Academic Development

Designing a Healthy University of the Future

EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY

Educational institutions that promote health and wellbeing have the power to not only enhance student success, but to improve the health of our communities and wider society.

What is a Healthy University?   

A Healthy University adopts a holistic understanding of health; takes a whole university approach; and aspires to create a learning environment and organisational culture that enhances the health, wellbeing and sustainability of its community and enables people to achieve their full potential (Healthy Universities, 2018).

What is our event exactly?

This is a hackathon style event designed to get students thinking about health in the university setting. A hackathon is a timed competition-style event where teams are expected to get creative and work collaboratively and come up with a design or idea. The event will involve coming up with an innovative idea for designing a ‘Healthy University of the future’.

The day-long event will consist of brainstorming tasks and facilitated design rounds with lots of opportunities for creativity and collaboration. At the end of the event groups will present their ideas, dragons den style, in front of a panel of public health experts and leaders within the university. Several prizes are up for grabs and everyone will leave with a goody bag. Team designs will be showcased on campus after the event.

Why should you come?

The event will challenge you to think on your feet, network and develop skills in critical thinking, teamwork and much more. These skills will be critical both within and beyond your university career. You will also have the unique opportunity to present to public health experts and leaders within the university.

We are looking for students from all backgrounds and disciplines to join our event. Teams will be formed during the event so no preparation is required prior to the event. Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Event Date: Wednesday February 21 10:00-16:30 @ Room G.06, 50 George Square.

SIGN UP HERE

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP HERE

View the promotional film here

 

Yvonne Laird and Jillian Manner

Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy

Festival of Creative Learning 2018!

With thanks to the Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Project for their contribution to #FCL18

Edinburgh Medieval Pigment Project

We’ll be holding two workshops during the Festival of Creative Learning at the University of Edinburgh. Both workshops are free of charge and open to the public.

Where: 50 George Square, 2.54

When: February 21st, 10:00-13:00 & 13:30-16:00

The morning session will focus on dyeing, using woad and cochineal. We’ll have woad plants & cochineals for everyone to see & we’ll explain how they both yield colour before we use extracts of the dye to dye wool! Participants will also be allowed to bring one item that they’d like to dye with either colour. There are a limited number of spaces available for the morning session!

The afternoon session will be based around the process of decorating a manuscript! We’ll have a variety of inks, quills, and vellum for everyone to experiment with. This will be operated on a drop-in basis, but we ask that everyone registers their interest so…

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The Siege of InfoSec: A Medieval Perspective on Information Security

Infosec

Information Security. It’s not considered the sexiest of topics, despite the news coverage it seems to be getting lately.

Just those two words can conjure up images of men in ties nagging you to update and patch your devices (because you should) or companies crashing and burning as they lose users’ data.

Frankly, using information securely is too important to let people ignore it due to its perceived lack of appeal…

As part of a push to make Information Security an easier pill to swallow, we pitched an event for the Festival of Creative Learning where we could use a topic people seem to find more interesting and apply it to Information Security, overcoming apathy with analogy.

So, what will happen?

You and your group will be set two challenges. In the first you will act as cartographers for the kingdom of InfoSec with one of you group playing the part of the Lord and the others as their trusted advisors. You will map out all the websites and organisations with whom the Lord may hold data and where they hold key data, forming the main city and the outlying lands.

In the second challenge you will then look at how they can defend these things from two types of enemies: Raiders and the dreaded Order of the Black Hats, a group that will use subterfuge, mercenary armies and even the plague to bring your harmonious Kingdom to its knees.

You will learn how best to protect yourselves as individuals online and what beneficial behaviours and defences are synonymous with medieval warfare (firewalls as moats and gates, anti-virus as guards and medics etc.)

Why should you come?

To engage with a key life skill for the Digital Age through collaboration, creativity and world building. You will get the chance to think strategically and see how the lessons of centuries past can be applied today. Most importantly: because it is fun, educational and free.

So come along, try something a little different and get an idea of the scale and safety of your digital Kingdom.

Event Dates:

Tuesday 20 February – 13:00-17:00 @ Room 2.13, 50 George Square. Book now.

Thursday 22 February – 13:30-17:30 @ Room 3.2, Lister Learning and Teaching. Book now.

 

David Creighton-Offord

Information Security Consultant – University of Edinburgh – January 2018