Wednesday 21, March 2018

ASCUS Lab, UK’s largest laboratory for expermentation in Art & Science


A place for everyone to experiment in art & science…

Over the last year at ASCUS Art & Science we have been busy developing ASCUS Lab a trans-disciplinary space to produce, create, debate, research, experiment and play with art and science. The lab is based in Summerhall, the creative hub for the arts and venue for the Edinburgh International Science Festival and Edinburgh Fringe.

This ambitious project has seen ASCUS launch the UK’s largest publicly accessible Lab for experimentation in art and science with the support of a Wellcome Trust People Award, renovating a disused lab in the former Royal Dick Vet School and bringing it back to life. The project is co-founded by Dr James Howie (director of ASCUS), Ms Lucy Stewart and research scientists in different areas of the School of Biological Sciences (and beyond) from the University of Edinburgh.

Lab Resources and Facility
As the lab grows we are extremely keen to work with artists and researchers, from Scotland and beyond. To do this we depend on public engagement and project funding initiatives to enable us to develop creative and innovative ways to bring the arts and sciences to public audiences. Funding enables us is to take a thorough and considered approach to ensure that all our activities have a real impact on audiences across Scotland. Check out our lab facility page for more info about the resources, equipment, expertise, training and support we provide.

Hands-on Collborative Workshops and Activities
For scientists we ecourage and support collaboration with artists providing opportunities to co-develop creative workshops and activities for ‘hands-on’ public engagement with their research through a combined art-science approach. For artists we offer collabrative opportunities with scientists to co-create and co-deliver art-science workshops and activites that engage new and different audiences in creative activity. Check out the Artists, Scientists and Microscopy collaborative workshop that we ran in July 2016 to get a feel for what’s involved.

Skills Courses and Lab Open Sessions
For anyone that is new to lab work, we provide training through our own in-house skills courses. Check out our Microscopy for Beginners Course, the first in our skills courses programme that we will continue to develop, with a particular focus on Microscopy, Microbiology and DNA Analysis. Along with this we run weekly Open Sessions that provide access to the lab and it’s recourses, in an independent and supported environment, so that anyone can develop their own lab based projects. Check out our lab open sessions page for more about what they are and scheduling info.

ASCUS Lab Community
We want the ASCUS Lab to be a place for independent research and experimentation, allowing anyone to conduct their own experiments. In short, the ASCUS Lab will be a community space for art and science experimentation, providing a facility for innovative, creative and fun methods of public engagement with the arts and sciences and allowing access for everyone to the specialist tools of science. Join our ASCUS Lab Community Facebook Group a public group for ASCUS Lab Community members to meet virtually, share ideas and relevant titbits.

Our vision

We want to build a community of artists, designers, policymakers, scientists and the general public and create a trans-disciplinary space to produce, debate, create and carry out lab based experimentation and research and explore its role in the arts, sciences and in society in general. The space aims to interrogate the way science is produced, how the public is engaged and how artists and designers are represented.

The Lab creates a physical space for scientists, artists and the public to interact directly with the tools and ideas of science through doing and experimenting. It will is an publicly accessible laboratory based at Summerhall. It is a space for experimentation in all the sciences with a particular focus on the life sciences dedicated to forging links to science, art and society. The lab is an energetic, productive environment for making, doing and learning, with core facilitation from on-site lab technicians.

The lab provides a supported environment for the development of independent and citizen science programmes with space and facilities for training in scientific equipment within a safe and custom environment.


ASCUS Lab is supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award and Summerhall


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