Reflections on the festival

As I have been encouraged to write a blog post (but when I went to a place where it said ‘blog’ I got an error saying that tag is only allowed for certain people) I will start one here with some reflections on the great festival!
I am very glad Winnie invited me, something that maybe should go without saying, but I will start with that anyway! Thanks!!

From the complexities of water presentation by Alberto Rey, to the super fun Urban Games (yay, Hippos!), to the open insulin work and the workshops and masterclasses, it really was so interesting. Of course I am sorry I missed out on Bernard M’s discussion and the details about data protection from the afternoon of the second day, but hope somehow (in these pages?) I will manage to catch up! It is incredibly cool that we finished with Matt M (who my daughters would also really love) and John C (so cool he is advising this group!) giving their take on things, and the final documentary, well I already talked about that elsewhere, but it was really great.

As I got on the plane home, I realised that my current book, Heureux les heureux, by Yasmina Reza, is also very applicable to these topics of open care, open sourcing and open science even - and esp knowing each other… There are even vignettes with people waiting in the doctor’s office, being brave and pathetic, all at once… The title is from Jorge Luis Borges, and I will quote: ‘Felices los amados y los amantes y los que pueden prescindir del amor. Felices los felices.’

Maybe we can all call ourselves happy just to have been together for those few days, but I am hoping that there will be more to come, even thought I know getting to Morocco to start off next year is certainly not going to happen for me! :blush:
Still I look forward to hearing about it all!
And seeing at least some of you (for real, not just in facebook) in the not too distant future!

Now, if I could just find out what those instruments were, that were played during the party (well, at least for one song, outside of the sound check… ;)!

Thanks again to everyone for their contributions and organisation!


Hi @rachel - well all the sessions have been documented, including Bernard’s, so we will be sharing them broadly over the next weeks. Can you add a link to your own somewhere here?

As we are now in a deep evaluation process and weighing all the work that has been put in against the outcomes, I wanted to ask you what have you learned, specifically? Are there things and projects which you are now working on in collaboration with other community members as a result of the event? For example @thomasmboa is setting up a biolab in Yaoundé, Cameroon after having met Winnie and Anthony! Will follow this idea of new collaborations on email, but having it here for the record would be great!

Looks good!

How do I add this link to your list? Results of the DIY lab analysis of water contamination in Brussels - #5 by rachel

I could put more info in also about the cheek cells and diy scopes etc…
thanks again!

p.s. do you think I should fill in the form about joining in for more ahead??
what is Winnie’s position in the group?

Heya, we’ll add it!
I would really appreciate if you filled out the forms. Working to input that data into the a collective report, so the more concrete it gets the better, thanks Rachel! @winnieponcelet can speak for himself I guess…

I’m contributing to the Academy idea that took form after the festival. I believe we’re going to talk about it more this evening at the community call (6pm Brussels time). Feel free to join :slight_smile:

sorry, our Hackuarium board meeting started at 6:30 today… but I am very interested in learning more and further collaborations, and wonder about mentions of swiss foundations to somehow help the open insulin effort in the Day 2 document from the OpenVillage Festival…
I also wonder if Hackuarium (with its new P1 space, just officially opened today! my first bioluminescent strain - from colleagues at the UNIL - is growing on a plate now in Hackuarium, and we will be doing a first ‘golden gate’ cloning exercise, as part of the how to grow almost anything course, soon!!) might be able to start a small project to get involved in some real way.
To get myself more up to speed I’ve done a bit of googling, and found this review of interest, from mainly egyptian researchers:

This PLOS One article was also interesting (even if one of the authors works for Merck):
We do have one member who has done quite a bit of protein work, and is just about to turn in his thesis… Maybe I can convince him that we should get really going, and form a project group around this idea.
One extra thing I noticed, ironically: IP is used as a common abbreviation for the insulin precursor in the literature.
best to all!

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Those are good articles to start on! I invited you to our Drive where there’s plenty of articles. We should put all our brains together at some point with those that have specialized skills.

Re: Swiss Foundation, yes this is an option! We’re still figuring it out though. Following up on a lot of thoughts and threads from the Festival.

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In terms of what I specifically learned, I realised I never answered you here… Because I really would like to get more people doing citizen science, and especially help them become aware of how easily we might be able to help our cells avoid too much damage, also for future generations, I guess one personal thing I (re)learned was how difficult it is to push ideas onto people directly. Even if they seem very nice. For one example, many times I would have liked to advice people to skip their cigarette break (since cigarette smoke not only can directly damage DNA but prevent its repair!), but I guess there was only one person that I even pointed this out to (very gently, I think)… I believe people have an idea that there are so many bad things out there, that one more makes no big difference, and of course adults are allowed to make their own choices. Nonetheless, I hope that if they could really understand ‘why’ such things are bad for us all, and the environment - based on this idea of ‘dynamic genomic integrity’ getting disrupted, things could change for the better… (here is the link to my public service association, just in case someone would like more info in this regard. The summary flyer btw is available already in 10 languages, but I would love to make more translations, and would also love more ‘flags’ to show up the site’s counter… I also want to point out to all the artistic people out there that the AGiR! Art Call is still open!!)
Outside of these reflections, concretely, one project I hope to collaborate more upon in the future is to join in somehow for the open insulin project, most likely via Hackuarium and its newly inaugurated P1 lab.
I would also like to help find funding for us all to keep learning more and ultimately help make the world better… (I finally filled in the form this morning…)
Two more things: I didn’t see whether the info I sent before got linked into your list, but probably 1) including the prezi link (Citizen Science by Rachel Aronoff) would be good, as it includes the protocol for the quantitative micronucleus assays and microbio of envtal water samples, origami microscope, etc. at the end. Also, 2) I encourage everyone who did bring home a foldscope to explore more via this site ( especially checking out their ‘usage tutorials’ and trying to make more paper slides with tape and items of interest (insect wings etc)! Thanks!

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For a short time I was a science teacher in secondary schools. I even considered introducing the study of environmental chemistry instead of standard chemistry, but that didn’t work out. But this kind of citizen science would bring great life to teaching, as well as helping adults take control of their own lives. I was fascinated by the citizen science aspect of the Festival as a whole.

What comes through your posts beautifully, @rachel, is the dimension of knowledge, experience and care (in the sense of being careful, rather than the other vital sense of caring for each other). The technology is secondary. Your posts here suggest that attention to the detail in the process is much more significant than, say, the difference between using a domestic pressure cooker rather than an official autoclave for sterilization.

There’s something here too that is shared between citizen science and open source software. It is that it is quite easy in principle to involve ordinary people in ordinary situations, without great amounts of expensive technology or large organisations.

Back to schools, though. How can we get these ideas, and practices, into mainstream secondary education? Perhaps through, first, alternative education and home schoolers sharing resources? If we did manage to get into mainstream education, that would be such a powerful springboard into the hearts and minds of young people.

In the UK, we can perhaps benefit in an unexpected way from present trends. There are still large numbers of standard council-controlled schools, but increasing numbers of free schools and “academies”. While these are perhaps set up to allow private interests to profit from education (very distasteful), they can also be used to break free of some norms, and maybe experiment with this kind of idea.

I hope we can ‘break out’ more with these ideas, especially with the next generation! I think that even ordinary schools might be up for this, even though (in my experience with a private school in Switzerland at least) many are much more well equipped than Hackuarium. Thanks, Simon, for your kind words (or probably I should say @asimong)! It is clear that the details are important, but especially having a valid basis of comparison - the ‘controls’ - and replicates of tests (we usually aimed for triplicates, for instance, in the Montreux bay water sampling study, because the plates we used were pretty expensive, but 5 would be better). Additionally, I think also aims for raising awareness to increase active prevention for public health is a kind of ‘care’ for us all - to help avoid wasting not only future resources but especially suffering.

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