This year I had the opportunity to present my work at MuseumNext Conference in Rotterdam. The theme of the conference, with over 500 participants, was “Museum Game Changers, a celebration of those people, ideas and technologies that are changing the landscape of the museum sector”. My presentation was, to my surprise, selected among certainly many brilliant proposals, but I do have to agree with the selection committee that it is a real Game Changer.
DIY Bio is a movement that allows citizens do research in natural sciences using similar tools to professional scientists. DIY bio is redefining education, research, community engagement and scientific, technological, cultural and artistic production. It is empowering citizens, expanding amateur expertise and turning ideas and problems into products and solutions. A growing number of communities of amateur scientists are making a contribution to scientific production and significantly changing the way science is done, applied, perceived and disseminated.
Adopting and enhancing the principles and methodologies of DIY bio is an innovative way for museums to embed an ethos of active and “real” research into their institutions that go beyond the more traditional workshops, tinkering and design, make, play activities.
DIY bio labs, programs and activities can be used as a model for implementing citizen driven research institutes within museums. I discussed how the DIY bio model could be brought into museums of all disciplines- supporting innovative, citizen driven trans-disciplinary research.
The intersection of DIY science with other disciplines is driving fields such as biodesign or bioart, and has contributed to the birth of new disciplines such as biotic games. DIY bio spaces work with a low cost, small-scale, high impact model driven by members rather than visitors. It is flexible, experimental, grows organically, is linked to the community, functions with a different mindset and it doesn´t carry the institutional and operational restrictions of museums.
The Bio Design Studio at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose (California) and the proposal I created for La Caixa Foundation to create an Open Lab for citizen driven art-science and technology education and research, are two examples of how the DIY bio model can be implemented at museums and science centers.
If you are interested in this topic please take a look at the slides of my presentation and take a look at the video of my presentation.