We are happy to announce that on the 15 November, MadLab and Nesta will be hosting a workshop and evening panel discussion called DIYbio: Learning to code or learning to type?
Biological organisms do not follow the neat logic of a software program. They interact in unpredictable ways; they need care and time to grow; and, fundamentally, they come with the unknowns of natural systems rather than the order of manmade technologies. DIY biology and facilities to do this at a community level has parallels with the early stages of the open source computing movement, but at the same time, the complexities of biology might limit the potential success of amateur initiatives.
So how much is DIY biology like learning to code, or really more like learning to type? As biological tools become part of the armory of today’s makers, is there a new set of skills and norms that come along with these? How does the routine of the lab mash with a creative hack culture? And what level of understanding do you need to do something truly inventive with a petri dish rather than html?
The event will start at 2:30pm with an afternoon workshop during which participants will be able to do some bio-hacking in the lab. This will be followed by a panel discussion starting at 7:30 pm on the issue of biological literacy. The panel will be featuring Asa Calow, DIY Biologist and Founder/Director of the MadLab in Manchester; John O’Shea, artist and creator of the world’s first bio-engineered football; Philipp Boeing, UCL iGem and London Biohackers and James Brown, biological design engineer at Microsoft Research and University of Cambridge.
The event will be a great opportunity for newcomers to gain experience working in a laboratory environment, learning the sort of skills necessary for working in this area. It will also serve as an arena where you will get to hear about contemporary issues and developments within this exciting and rapidly expanding field.
If you would like to attend, please register here.