Science Meets Art—and 400 Crafty Kids


Jane Osbourn

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

There’s something about the boundless imagination of children that gives us all a new perspective on just about everything. And, how they interpret what they see often gives us the most wonderful expressions of creativity and individuality.

This week, we revealed these expressions in larger-than-cellular-life fashion at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), the site of our future UK-based Research and Development Center and Corporate Headquarters. What you see is an artwork installation on the hoardings—or billboards—around the existing construction site, approximately 400 of them in all of their bountiful, colorful and marvelously expressive manifestations.

The unveiling was the culmination of the Science in pictures initiative, a project that we began with the local Cambridge community—in partnership with STEM Team East and the Cambridge Science Centre—as part of our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) outreach. What you might normally see on the faces of these types of hoardings that typically surround construction sites are advertisements and promotions—and this is fine. But, we wanted to do something different; something that uniquely portrayed the inspiration of science and that would get others in our local community excited about what we do in our labs—particularly in this new lab at the CBC.

And, this was an amazing experience to follow. We started with workshops led by our scientists, STEM ambassadors and local Cambridge artists and attended by school-age children from 7 to 17 years old. We talked about science, we showed students what we do in our labs, they asked questions, and more questions, and then even more questions.

What came next were the students’ visual interpretations of everything they’d learned and seen—circular pictures they’d created of DNA, tissues, cells or anything that captured what science meant to them. We then digitized and enlarged their art and produced the hoardings that will remain on display throughout the construction period.

If you’re a Cambridge local, we encourage you to visit the site and see for yourself in person. 

What’s been most important about this project to us was the opportunity to share our passion for our work with young people and then to literally watch them become equally excited about the possibilities of science. To see that unfolding occur with this artwork and to be able to display it for the larger community is a proud moment for all of us.