We are beyond grateful to Professor Huseyin Boyaci and his team at the University of Bilkent not just for organising an event to host the consortium but for choosing such a fascinating location like Cappadocia.
Cappadocia holds wonder everywhere you look. From the carved layers of volcanic tufa, shaped by wind and water that are the fairy chimneys to the beautiful fertile lands of the Pigeon Valley, strewn with orchards and grapevines. Wondering up to Uchisar Castle, imposing and dividing in opinion.
All the while, Mount Erciyes is looming in the distance, a snow covered giant. All this landscape is mixed within a historical region that was a melting pot of cultures and beliefs, from ancient Hatti culture to Romans and Christians.
All DyViTo members are looking forward to learning more about this beautiful and magical region. Although we have a very busy week with some of the best speakers in the field attending hosted at the Argos Hotel, there is always time for tea.
The first in a series of advanced DyViTo training courses was held from 11-14 March in the beautiful Schloss Rauischholzhausen near Marburg, Germany.
The goal of these workshops is to train ESRs
and to allow them to network with experts in the field as well as build
relationships with other DyViTo members and partners. The workshop included 15 high
level talks covering the following subjects under the umbrella of material
perception of color and light
computer generated graphics
analysis of industrial coatings
neural mechanisms and brain imaging
Evening poster sessions gave ESRs and external
attendees the opportunity to share what they have been working on over the past
few months and to develop their communicative skills.
To the credit of organizers, less formal evening sessions were included so as to allow for a more casual flow of ideas and an opportunity to network.
A study of sound
The event also included an immersive acoustic
experience as all workshop guests and speakers were invited to experiment with
a range of musical and audio equipment.
Surrounded by 32 hectares of manicured lawns, woodland and running water, this conference center is like no other. The park is designed in the English style and contains almost 300 different types of trees. Two creeks run through the park and form several ponds connected by artificial cascading waterfalls. Sculptures including a Lithuanian princess, a female slave, a virgin, and a tired rambler may be found between groups of trees.
The castle of Rauischholzhausen was designed by the architect Carl Schaefer, a student of Gottlieb Ungewitter, in the style of Klein-Potsdam. The construction lasted from 1871 to 1878 and the castle was lavishly decorated. Inside and out, you are bound to come across wonderful and elaborate details.
The DyViTo network meeting is well and truly underway, with talks and poster presentations scheduled for today as well as an opportunity for everyone to network.
Day 2 saw us being welcomed by the Science and Media Museum, promising a full day of expert training and wondrous science.
As soon as you enter the space you know that you will be in for a day of adventure. The space is expertly renovated to welcome you into the marvelous world of science and media. I say renovated not built because the original building was not conceived as a museum space. The 1960’s the space was envisioned to be a cinema. Even though the museum has undergone many name changes and it looks fairly different now, the cinema areas are still there. They even had the first IMAX cinema in Europe.
Our day started with a warm welcome from Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director at National Science and Media Museum. As part of the Science Museum Group, who are DyViTo partners, they are the worlds most significant group devoted to science.
Of course, we couldn’t go the Science and Media Museum without spending some time in the Wonderlab. Not enough time, if you ask me, but we had a schedule to keep. We even had the opportunity to observe the museum staff in action: we got to sit in on a school visit at the Wonderlab Studio. Not only was Liz, the presenter-extraordinaire, inspiring and energetic but she was able to keep the children engaged throughout.
Having air canons helped as well.
Alas, in no time at all we had to leave the Wonderlab. However, the museum staff had one more trick up their sleeve.
We had the privilege of taking a peak at some of the items in the museum storage. From the camera that was used to film the iconic Bohemian Rhapsody intro, to the Daily Herald archives and rows upon rows of classic cameras, everywhere you looked there was something fascinating. Our expert guides made sure we understood the innovative nature and, in some cases, the breakthrough designs that helped shape the world of media and photography we now know.
It was not all fun and games, though. We heard about the work that the museum does in order to engage the community in Bradford. John Darnbrough, Learning Programmes Developer, spoke about the various outreach work that the museum undertakes. The Family Programme alone can have over 30 thousand visitors across the event.
Robin Dark, Partnership and Learning Projects Manager, spoke about the Bradford Science Festival. Their approach to taking the science outside of the museum to Broadway Shopping Center and Centenary Square means that learning has never been more accessible. As Jo Quinton-Tulloch put it “We don’t lecture, we inform and inspire”.
Last, but by no means least, Professor Candy Rowe was kind enough to give a talk about Gender and Diversity in Research. Coming all the way from Newcastle University she was able to start a very spirited conversation around the theme of “Why should we care about equality, diversity and inclusion”.
You will agree that Day 2 was intense. There was nothing left to do but blow off some steam with the quintessential yule-tide pastime, Christmas crackers. The Midland Hotel was kind enough to host us for dinner over a festive menu and cracking crackers. Pardon the pun.
Our guests have been coming in from across our network, some have come from Germany while others from Spain and Netherlands. This week marks the first meeting for most of the Early Stage Researchers, their Supervisors and our Partners.
Having almost everyone from across the DyViTo project in one room really made it clear just what a great team of passionate and driven individuals we have working with us.
It was also the perfect opportunity to put some faces to the email address!
Even though we have a lot to cover this week, we tried not to overload anyone with information on their very first day. Professor Marina Bloj started the day with a talk about DyViTo while Dr Andrew Logan, Lecturer in Optometry, spoke passionately about Open Access.
Even though Day 1 did set a tone for the rest of the week, which will include training, seminars and talks, we did not forget that this is also an opportunity to introduce everyone to the city of Bradford. Ans this can only mean one thing. Curry!
Bradford is considered by many to be the ‘Curry Capital of Britain‘, a title they have won six times between 2011 and 2016. You cannot come to Bradford and not try a curry. Are you in the mood for a Pakistani or a Kashmiri take? Will it be a tikka masala or a rogan josh? This is one of those moments that may put you in a tailspin. Thankfully, Omar Khans came to the rescue. They were able to organise a banquet menu that introduced us to some of the most famous, an delicious, Asian dishes. Team building and networking is definitely better over expertly prepared curry. And when the table goes quiet, you know that the food is good.