Press Release, Royal College of Art (November 2014)



“… Students come to Design Interactions from a range of backgrounds, many with science learning stalled in half-forgotten school laboratories, and a received culture that complex science is exclusive, regulated and out-of-reach.

StudioLab Research Associate Raph Kim, a DI graduate and bio-hacker designer who runs the workshops, explains his approach: ‘We encourage a DIY approach to science, giving students a selection of small vials, each containing small chunks of DNA that can be assembled, and enzymes to piece the parts together. This allows them to think about a biological system from the bottom up (which is how we like to design), starting with the basic unit of life – the DNA. It may sound complicated, but you don’t need a degree in biology to engage with it, you need curiosity.’

Outcomes include modified squid ink with luminescence, bacteria that exhibit a spectrum of colours and 3D models that support microbial growth. Students who intend to make biotechnology part of their practice are supported by a three-week synthetic biology project and are then able to join scientists at Imperial College London, one of the world’s highest-ranking STEM universities, to test their ideas in controlled, laboratory settings. Thinking in 3D terms is unique to this design environment, so brings an unexplored challenge back to the expert scientists, alongside a shared need to strike the open balance between science and design that allows innovation…”

Excerpt from press release by Octavia Reeve, published ahead of Biohacking and Design Workshop at Design Interactions, Royal College of Art. Full press release link here.