Sci-Art Educational Project – UEA Modern Physic Garden

Sci – Art Educational Project – UEA Modern Physic Garden

Burnham Market Primary School – SALT glass studios

 ©Andy Sheppard Photography
Dr Bowater (UEA) and SALT glass talks & glass workshops on the plants and glass labels for the Modern Physic Garden with pupils from Burnham Market Primary School. Photo ©Andy Sheppard Photography

This unique educational project brings together the UEA and Dr Bowater, SALT glass studios and Burnham Market Primary School in the creation of original glass labels on the traditional and twenty first century pharmacopeia benefits of plants and crops for the UEA’s Modern Physic Garden to open in October 2015 and situated next to the Enterprise Centre and gateway to the campus.

The project is funded by the North West Norfolk Decorative & Fine Art Society  (NWNDFAS) Photography by Andy Sheppard Photography  www.andysheppardphotography. The project is indebted to Dr Shakespeare and Dr Bowater and the UEA, Andy Sheppard and Burnham Market Primary School.

Talks Demos.SALT glass studios visit to BMPS for Glass Art Demos for Plant lables for the UEA MPG, NADFAS funder.1.5.15.Photo Credit ©Andy Sheppard Photography.DSC0914
Dr Bowater (UEA) & SALT glass talks & glass workshops on the plant labels for the Modern Physic Garden at Burnham Market Primary School. Photo ©Andy Sheppard Photography

The school pupils worked with glass artists and scientists during May to July learning design and glass art techniques to create plant labels to communicate the benefits of plants, from the medicinal, nutritional and structural, to inform the public visiting the UEA’s Modern Physic Garden.

Students researching and drawing plants and botanical drawings to inform their plant labels designs for the Modern Physic Garden. Photo ©Andy Sheppard Photography

Dr Bowater from the UEA visited the school to explore the plants and the Modern Physic Garden with the whole school and and wider community. The pupils designed glass labels for a series of plants for the UEA’s garden including Bamboo, Linseed, Reeds, Willow, Broccolli, Tomatoes, Blue berries, Black/red currents, Lavender, Mint, Sage, Hops, Foxglove, Woad and Saffron.

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Students researching historical and botanical documents on the plants and glass techniques to inform their plant labels designs. Photo ©Andy Sheppard Photography

Glass workshop to create glass plant labels for the school’s garden

©SALT glass studios.BMPS School Garden Plant Labels DSCF9854
BMPS pupils Glass Plant Label for School Garden. ©SALT glass studios

Each pupil learnt traditional glass fusing and print transfer making skills drawn from their designs and communicating science information on the plants and excelled in transferring these new skills in the creation of a series of thirty two unique glass plant labels inspired by the school garden.

1. SALT glass studios.SM BMPS for Glass Art Workshop for Plant lables for the UEA MPG, NADFAS.25.6.15.Photo Credit ©Andy Sheppard_DSC2468
Glass Art Workshop. Photo ©Andy Sheppard Photography
The legacy project saw SALT glass working with pupils to transfer their news skills in the creation of a series of glass plant labels for the School’s garden. These glass labels will be now showcased as part of the school’s display on the MPG and also at the UEA in October for the opening of the MPG.
©SALT glass studios.BMPS School Garden Plant LabelsDSCF9688
Glass Art Workshop for Plant label for School Garden. Photo ©SALT glass studios

Dr Bowater visit BMPS to select a plant label design for the Modern Physic Garden

All the designs the students created were excellent and selecting one design was incredible difficult. The selected design was by two pupils for the Flax Design.

2. design lable exmaples.SALT glass design work shops BMPS 26.5.15 Photography_maddie and cassidey design
Examples of students working in pairs to design glass plant labels for Willow, Sage and Bamboo ©BMPS
 Group Image.SM UEA Plan Design MPG
Dr Laura Bowater thought the pupils designs for the MPG were  so good they will now be created into UEA leaflets for the MPG. Dr Bowater was so also very impressed with the glass panels for the school garden that Dr Bowater plans for these to go on pubic exhibition for the MPG’s opening.

School visit to the UEA & Modern Physic Garden

BMPS visit To  UEA. 9.7.15. Photo Credit ©Andy Sheppard Photography JCI
BMPS pupils, visit to UEA and JIC. Photo ©Andy Sheppard Photography
Dr Bowater and the UEA arranged an amazing visit to UEA for BMPS pupils, which included visits to the JIC, Enterprise Centre and MPG sites and pupils engaging in plant science experiments.
Demos. visit SALT glass studios visit to BMPS for Glass Art Demos for Plant lables for the UEA MPG, NADFAS funder.1.5.15.Photo Credit ©Andy Sheppard Photography.DSC0876
SALT glass studios’ design and glass art workshop at the school ©Andy Sheppard Photography

Funded by NWNDFAS the project enables primary school pupils to learn glass art and scientific research skills and raises aspirations regarding school pupil’s career prospects within the Arts and Sciences.


Dr Laura Bowater: Project Summary

Lead for the Modern Physic Garden @UEA 

Editor of Microbiology Today

Co-Director of Medicine with a Foundation Year and Module 1 coordinator

As the project lead for the Modern Physic Garden @UEA I have been delighted to have been part ofthe Sci/Art Project with Salt Glass studios. On a personal level I enjoyed the opportunity to visit a school in a beautiful part of Norfolk. I think it is fair to say that Burnham Market wouldn’t usually have been on my radar for a school visit because of its location. I found the school and the children incredibly welcoming, interested and engaged with the physic garden project. I enjoyed seeing the research about plants that the students had undertaken and captured within their portfolios. 

As part of the programme we invited the class to UEA to take part in activities associated with plants and green spaces. I am pleased to report that from the perspective of UEA this has been avaluable experience. Our learning from this experience has resulted in the development of a series of activities that we will be able to offer other primary schools. In addition I am working with the outreach office and a new group of UEA science students to design more hand-on activities based around the Physic Garden and drawing on the visit (and the evaluation of the visit) that took place last summer as a direct result of the Youth Arts Grant. 

In addition I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with the creativity of Salt Glass Studios. I have learnt a lot and the outputs that have been created as result of this collaboration are things of beauty and I am proud to have been a part of this. My hope is that we will have encouraged at least one or two students to think about plants in new ways and also to consider Higher Education as an option after they leave school.  

The project establishes a unique educational partnership and fosters the UEA’s engagement strategy to encourage and renew links between schools, the wider community and diverse and younger audiences onto the campus and into the region.

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Students designing the glass plant labels designs. Photo ©Andy Sheppard Photography










UEA Modern Physic Garden (MPG)

The UEA is committed to raising aspirations of children within the local school sector and community, through such high quality art and cultural experiences experience including such projects. UEA anticipate further projects will include opportunities for catalysing rich and durable interdisciplinary collaborations. Through visitors to art exhibition and wider media coverage such project will challenge preconceptions and stimulate interest and excitement about art and plant research concerning living with climate change, developing sustainable agriculture, food security and life-long human health.


© Modern Physic Garden situated next to the Enterprise Centre

The Modern Physic Garden at the UEA is situated next to the Enterprise Centre and gateway to campus as part of an on-going initiative to develop sustainable, outwardly focused projects to encourage reciprocity and mutual learning via meaningful engagement with a range of existing and potential communities and partners.

The Modern Physic Garden will foster scientists and artists educational partnerships leading to ambitious high quality, visually striking, commissioned art works that positively contribute to the public engaging with 21st century, local needs including the challenges of climate change, developing sustainable agriculture, food security and life-long human health.

The Enterprise Centre and the Modern Physic Garden will be established as a potential arts venue, with colleagues, peers, and public and professional audiences: further sci-art and public engagement projects will follow at UEA. The garden will evolve and develop, attracting new audiences as visitors return to exhibitions bringing family and friends to become involved in the future growth and development of the garden; it will become a transformational beacon for the wider community.

Norfolk has been at the forefront of agriculture for centuries; passing through the ‘industrial age’, it has emerged into a society looking for renewable, sustainable, sustaining materials as exemplified by the Enterprise Centre situated next to the Physic garden. Throughout history, plants and natural products have been used as building material, sustenance and a rich pharmacopeia.

Dr Laura Bowater  – UEA Project Lead Modern Physic Garden  & Senior Lecturer,UEA Norwich Medical School

Laura Bowater started her scientific career as a PhD student studying Microbiology at the College of Life Sciences, a centre of research excellence, at the University of Dundee. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in microbiology at the renowned John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park. She began her career in science communication and public engagement when she coordinated and designed several events for the BA Festival of Science in Norwich 2006. In 2007 she moved to the Norwich Medical School where she has successfully attracted funding and developed a teaching career encompassing medical sciences and research ethics. In addition, she has developed as a Science Communicator and Public Engagement practitioner, contributing to print and broadcast media, receiving the CUE East Award for Excellence in Public Engagement in 2009. She currently reviews public engagement grants for Learned Societies, and attends, delivers and chairs sessions at Science Communication and Public Engagement Conferences. She also designs, delivers and facilitates public engagement training to different interest groups, including doctoral students, postgraduates, clinicians and university academic staff. In 2010 she facilitated public engagement training of Wellcome Trust funded scientists in the project. Changing Conversations. UEA As a Beacon for Public Engagement (CUE east) UEA is now missioned with communicating and exchanging knowledge, enriching cultural life, and creating dialogues with publics and communities: Bowater (principle applicant), Bounford (Evalutator) and Roberts (Advisor) continue to hold significant roles in CUE.

Engagement is embedded within UEA; Bowater and Bounford are key members of the UEA Engagement Executive. UEA has used the arts to bridge the gap between academic and public discourses as highlighted by the Sainsbury Centre for visual Art is an inspirational public art museum on the UEA campus UEA is ranked in the top 1% of world, HE institutions and is a leading member of the Norwich Research Park, one of Europe’s biggest concentrations of researchers. Our world-class researchers including Shakespeare (Co-applicant) are generating new knowledge, creating significant contributions to society and stimulating enterprise activities. Scientific expertise a cross the NRP is world renowned for the genetics underpinning, health and nutrition, food security to responses to climate change, French (Co-applicant) is CEO of Adapt Low Carbon Group, which builds on successful UEA research activities to stimulate enterprise in areas including food, health and wellbeing, sustainable agriculture and fashion design and art.

SALT glass Studios –

SALT glass studios is an award winning glass print studio and course provider run by the artists Max Lamb (RCA) and Dr Fiona Wilkes (Slade) in Burnham Thorpe Norfolk. SALT glass have worked with leading glass and art organisations on national and international projects, commissions, residencies and exhibited widely with selected work in private and public collections. They have teaching experience, running courses/workshops for beginners to post graduate level with educational organisations, museums and galleries in the UK, Caribbean and South America. SALT glass exhibited widely including the National Glass Centre, British Glass Biennale, London Craft Week, Contemporary Glass Society, Clerkenwell Design Week. CLEY14. Kettle’s Yard Gallery, National Galley (Guyana), Tate Modern, Horniman Museum.

Andy Sheppard Photography –

Burnham Market Primary School (BMPS) –

Burnham Market Primary School is a small, rural school (120 pupils) located in north Norfolk. The school has an established garden club organised by parents and has designed gardens at local Holkham Hall. Mrs Stroulger the head teacher is keen to weave the Modern Physic Garden project into the new school curriculum especially as part of the new push to embed SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural) within the school curriculum. Equally the school wishes to develop partners in the delivery of Art and Craft education thorough innovative high quality art experiences for the school and wider community.


For more information please contact:

Dr Laura Bowater (UEA Project Lead Modern Physic Garden and Co-Director of Medical School and Senior Lecturer)

SALT glass Studios –

Burnham Market Primary School (BMPS) –

North West Norfolk Decorative & Fine Art Society  (NWNDFAS)

Andy Sheppard Photography