Four Imperial academics partnered with poets to turn their scientific and creative interests into oral performances.
The Experimental Words project, which is now releasing a track album, was originally conceived by public engagement expert Dr. Sam Illingworth. (Associate Professor of Academic Practice, Napier University) and poet Dan Simpson (poet in residence at Imperial College London, the Glastonbury Festival and St Albans Cathedral).
It includes four Imperial academics, including a physicist exploring Earth’s magnetic field, an engineer teaching important skills to the next generation, and two surgeons studying performance and expertise in their field.
It also introduces Dr Robin Lamboll, of the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment, in his capacity as the champion of the poet slam. He worked with Dr Susannah Lydon at the University of Nottingham to create an article on his work on fossil plants.
In addition to spoken word performances by poets and scientists, tracks on the Experimental Words album use music and sound effects for an epic exploration of the creative power of performing arts and science.
In the audio clips below, we talk to each of the academics about how they got involved and what it was like to work with a poet, and share clips of the tracks. You can listen to all four interviews as a playlist and download the entire track album from Bandcamp.
“Beyond visible noise” – Martin Archer and Shareefa Energy
Stephen Hawking scholar, Dr. Martin Archer, of the Department of Physics at Imperial, studies the Earth’s magnetic field and how its interaction with the solar wind creates space weather. He is also passionate about engaging audiences. He teamed up with UK Entertainment Best Poet 2017 winner Shareefa Energy to explore science and sound.
‘Communion with the fabric’ – Roger Kneebone and Rick Dove
Imperial professor of surgical education and engagement science Roger Kneebone, author of Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery, has teamed up with London poet Rick Dove. Together they explored the idea of science as performance and how improvisation can be essential in the early stages of scientific collaborations.
‘Homonculi’ – Sam Gallivan and Elle Dillon-Reams
Dr Samantha Gallivan combines her work as an Assistant Academic Officer at the Imperial College of Medicine, where she directs part of the Masters in Surgical Education, with her clinical practice as an orthopedic surgeon. She collaborated with poet and theater designer Elle Dillon-Reams to explore the act of performance, whether it’s performing a creative work of art or a complicated surgery.
‘Glass Bridge’ – Sunday Popo-Ola and Malaika Kegode
Dr Sunday Popo-Ola, Research and Teacher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, collaborated with writer, performer and producer Malaika Kegode. Together, they brought Sunday’s passion for teaching the creativity necessary for engineering to flourish and how engineers save countless lives through design to life.
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