Utopia 2016 Lunchtime Talks

As a key part of Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility and UK Robotics week and Centre for Robotics Research Open Day, we are holding a series of lunch time talks which bring together the creative community of Somerset House to share in and celebrate each other’s practices, projects and approaches to working better.

Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility celebrates the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s inspirational text, Utopia. Thomas More was the first person to give a name and form to an idea that has captured the human imagination throughout history: that by imagining a better world is possible, we are empowered to create it. His playful and imaginative vision, published in 1516, presents an ideal society living on a fictitious island, described in a traveler’s tale. More’s Utopia is deliberately ambiguous, with the Greek words on which the name is based meaning both ‘no place’ and ‘good place’.  Utopia is not a blueprint for the future; instead More places importance on the process of dreaming in the now. His work continues to inspire communities, thinkers and artists and provide a framework for innovation in our time.

To find out more go to www.utopia2016.com
Where: Utopia Treasury: A Repository of Utopian Ideas (Great Arch Hall, South Wing, Somerset House)
When:  1 pm to 1:15 pm
Each talk is 15-minutes long and start at 1pm at the Utopia Treasury space at Somerset House. The talk are open to public.


June 30th: Struan Bourke and Shelley James – “Conjugated Polymers-Particles for the Future”

Abstract: Conjugated Polymers have gathered great momentum in both the fields of Optics, as well as Biological Imaging. Due to the wonderful array of colors they emit at, the scope of development for future disease treatments is endless. However, visualising Nanoparticles and how they emit light is difficult given their size. By creating glass structures that have the structure etched and then filled with the actual polymer, it’s possible to build up a picture of how they conjugate together. The fact that by rotating the glass structures onto different planes, allows for different ways of visualising the way the light interacts with the structures and polymers within. Glass has proven a very interesting medium, for these polymers, with some really unexpected results. I will hopefully be using some of the glass structures.


July 1st: John Grayson- “Hacking The Enlightenment – Knowledge exchange through collaborative automata making”

Abstract: Imagination and possibility are at the heart of the Parallel Practices project, the philosophy being that through combining science and making, students will be empowered to translate theoretical ideas into tangible products, through making, for the advancement of medicine and science. For my residency I have been exploring science and crafts shared history of 18th century automata, and over the duration of the residency been making a large-scale contemporary automaton in collaboration with the students. This object has been the vehicle for the knowledge exchange, I have provided craft workshops, allowing the students to develop skills in fine metal work and enameling, and they have brought their technological knowledge of electronics and computer coding to bear, devising ways of powering and controlling the object by remote means.


July 14th: Soraya Caixeiro – “Silk Biolaser: a new prospect for in body sensing? “

Abstract: Biolasers which can be implanted into the human body are exciting scientists due to their potential for sensing biologically relevant compounds beyond current technology. I will present to the audience the use of an ancient material, silk for the construction of a silk biolaser, a cheap and environmentally friendly product with the potential to be at the basis of future silk applications in technology and medicine.


July 15th: Riccardo Sapienza – “The power of light”

Abstract: This presentation will discuss the vital connection between light and glass from Greek burning lenses to the optics of the enlightenment to a new generation of ground-breaking research here at King’s that exploits the properties of light at the nanoscale to transform our lives, from computing and energy efficiency to medical diagnosis and treatment. The talk will be illustrated with examples from our collaboration as part of the Parallel Practices project – a joint initiative between the King’s Cultural Institute and the Crafts Council.