Embody your own avatar, channel your inner medieval scribe, and sign up for botany bootcamp at the START Festival

Posted on: 25 September 2023

Embody your own avatar, channel your inner medieval scribe, and sign up for botany bootcamp at the START Festival

From medieval scribes to virtual avatars and 16th century brewing to contemporary birth stories, the rich and varied world of academic research will be celebrated at the START Festival at Trinity College Dublin on Friday 29th September. 

Smaller pop up events will take place throughout the week, and the Trinity Long Room Hub will be hosting a week-long Arts & Humanities festival, so there is definitely something for everyone!

START (Start Talking About Research Today) Festival is part of European Researchers’ Night, a Europe-wide public event, which displays the diversity of research and its impact on citizens’ daily lives in fun, inspiring ways. This year will see events taking place across 26 countries around Europe.

In Ireland the START Festival is hosted by Trinity in partnership with Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and ADAPT, the SFI Research Centre for AI Driven Digital Content Technology.

The festival invites visitors to take an up-close look at the fascinating research that is shaping our world, explore solutions to society’s biggest problems, and learn about cutting-edge thinking at a research village in Front Square, where lightning talks, interactive workshops, screenings, performances and much more feature from 2 pm onwards on Friday

Highlights include:

Meetings with Manuscripts:  Try your hand at being a medieval scribe and copy lines from famous Irish manuscripts with a quill and ink. See if you can beat the computer at transcribing lines of thousand-year old English. Help us identify the strange creatures and beasts in illuminated manuscripts from the 8th to the 12th century. Venue: Trinity Centre of the Book stand, Research Village, Front Square, Trinity (drop in).

Explore AI with ADAPT, exhibition: The hot topic of artificial intelligence (AI) will be explored with a series of interactive activities including ‘Art or AI? Museum of Very Modern Art’ (can you tell the difference between your Dalís and your DALL-Es?); ‘From virtual to reality… and back!’ (experience what it is like to embody a virtual avatar by wearing an IVR visor); ‘PARADISE: AI and Vasculitis’ (see how doctors manage autoimmune diseases with AI); and ‘Automated Translation between Spoken and Sign Languages’ (learn how AI translates sign language). Venue: Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity. You can register here but everyone is welcome to drop in between 4pm and 8pm.

Sláinte: Would you drink a beer from 1574? Premiere of documentary following Trinity food historian Susan Flavin as she faithfully replicates a beer last brewed in Dublin Castle brewhouse in the 1570s using historic recipes, heritage technologies and ancient grains. Screening will be followed by a panel discussion. Venue: Trinity Long Room Hub (Register here). Part of the Arts and Humanities Research Festival programme. 

Navigating Climate Change with plants: botany bootcamp: Visitors will see the broad scope of botanical research through a highly interactive and entertaining exhibit that begins in Front Square and ends in the Herbarium, where specimens collected by Charles Darwin are on show. Visit all stations and collect stamps along the way as you complete a set of tasks from measuring CO2 levels in peat to identifying species with scientific equipment.

‘Birth Story’ theatre performance: performance art meets research in this honest and intimate portrayal of the experience of childbirth, inspired by the research findings from the Trinity Centre for Maternity Care Research at the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Two performances will take place, each followed by an informative panel discussion with the actors and Trinity experts who will welcome comments and questions from the audience. Venue: School of Nursing and Midwifery, D'Olier Street, D02 T283 (Register here.)

Looking ahead to the event, Professor Sinead Ryan, Dean of Research at Trinity, said:

“European Researchers’ Night has been celebrated in Trinity for 10 years now, and each year it provides us with a wonderful opportunity to invite people into the university where they can talk to researchers about what they do. The whole ethos of the event is to explore our curiosity and learn from each other while having some fun. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Trinity on the 29th.” 

In addition to the many offerings on Friday afternoon and evening, there are other highlights throughout the week, including:

The week-long Trinity Arts and Humanities Festival, which poses myriad fascinating questions such as: does landscape measure time?; who owns the sea?; how do books speak?; can ghosts sing?; And did The Beatles read The Bible? See the full programme here.

Talk with Trinity: Join us on Wednesday 27th September for a public discussion on biodiversity in the city, which is being held from 4 to 5 pm at Unit18. There’s no need to book a spot for this discussion – everyone is welcome to attend!