The Science Art and Writing (SAW) initiative is a cross-disciplinary engagement approach that explores scientific themes through practical science activities underpinned by visually striking images.
The images and science concepts are used as a creative stimulus for extension activities in art and writing. A typical SAW project involves a team of scientist, artist, writer and teacher working together to develop a one-day workshop for children from year one to sixth form. Projects have covered numerous cutting-edge research topics bringing real science into schools.
SAW also runs workshops for adults, training sessions for professionals and builds interactive exhibition stands and bespoke activities for many public events.
The SAW Trust, a charity to support the development of the initiative, was founded by Professor Anne Osbourn in 2005. Anne established the SAW approach during her year in the School of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia on a NESTA Dream Time fellowship.
Anne’s interest was in finding ways of bringing science into everyday lives and language, having learned that scientific images are fertile ground for engagement of all kinds. It is this principle that led to Anne establishing SAW to provide an accessible platform for people with varied interests and learning styles to be inspired by science.
Now in our eighth year of being totally self-funding we have worked with more than 750 scientists and enabled thousands of children to explore the latest research topics, work with real-life scientists, artists and writers and give personal responses through writing poetry and creating visual art.
Training scientists to use a cross-disciplinary approach to public engagement and introducing them to professional artists and writers has broadened their networks and their ideas for sharing science to a wider audience. Teachers have also incorporated the SAW methodology into teaching across the curriculum.
As well as working locally, we have developed strong relationships with schools in Shanghai and have a SAW hub school in the Xuhui district.