Latest news from Loughborough University

24 Sep 2015

Loughborough University project supports visionary research-based artwork

Loughborough University’s Creative Outreach Resource Efficiency (CORE) project has provided the impetus for the development of a brand new research-based artwork, due to go on display this weekend.

London-based artists BurtonNitta have been working with scientists from five leading universities to create the art piece, to be exhibited at the V&A Museum on 26-27 September.

The artwork, entitled Instruments of the Afterlife, depicts a future vision where energy needs and planetary consumption are balanced creating self-sustaining systems with little environmental impact.

It has been created in response to research carried out by the Cleaning Land for Wealth project (CL4W), which is funded alongside CORE, as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Resource Efficiency portfolio.

The CL4W project explores ways contaminated land can be brought back to life using bacteria and nano-particles from plants to collect toxic matter such as metals and arsenic. The idea is to cleanse land which has been damaged through centuries of misuse, making decontamination financially viable and, providing manufacturing industries with new materials without the need for mining or smelting.

Professor Jacqui Glass, Leader of the CORE project, comments: “I am delighted to see this extraordinary collaboration between leading scientists and ground-breaking artists. I am particularly pleased in the transformative way in which a challenging research problem has been interpreted and communicated for a wide audience.”

Principal Investigator of the CL4W project, Dr Kerry Kirwan, said: “The project came about when the CL4W team were introduced to BurtonNitta at a special public engagement event held at Loughborough Design School in 2014, as part of the CORE project activities.

“We have chosen to shine a light on our research through the lens of artists BurtonNitta with help from Professor Glass and the CORE team."

Dr Kirwan’s team and BurtonNitta were among ten special exhibits in at a mini science fair attended by children from Robert Bakewell School in Loughborough in 2014.

Instruments of the Afterlife will be on display in room 21a of the V&A. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5.45pm to and entry is free.

Notes for editors

Article reference number: 15/182

About Creative Outreach Resource Efficiency (CORE)

Based at Loughborough University, CORE (funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) supports exciting and imaginative outreach projects that encourage academics to “get out of the lab”, provoke public debate and deliver world-class engagement on their resource efficiency projects. It supports the delivery of a vibrant and creative outreach programme to maximise public and user engagement in resource efficiency.

About CL4W (Cleaning Land for Wealth) Project

CL4W is an innovative research project involving science teams from the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham, Cranfield, Edinburgh and Newcastle and is also funded by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

Substantial amounts of land across the UK and overseas is contaminated as a result of industrial activity in the past. Almost two thirds of the contaminated land in England and Wales contains metals and metalloids, with arsenic and nickel accounting for about 40 per cent of this.

The CL4W team are investigating how bacteria can be used to create nano-particles from plants, which in turn can collect toxic materials from contaminated land. The aim is to make land decontamination financially viable, and provide manufacturing industries with new materials gained from the process, without the need for mining and smelting.

About BurtonNitta

Based in London, the Anglo-Japanese art and design studio Burton Nitta is an interdisciplinary art duo that investigates our human future and evolution through collaborative projects.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. It was 2nd in the 2015 THE Student Experience Survey and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

On 21 September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.


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Sophie Walker

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T: 01509 222224