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The revolution of Do-It-Yourself research in the University Museum

21 November 2018

Science is only for scientists? The touring ‘Beyond the Lab’ exhibition tells seven stories about people who opened up scientific research to everyone. The exhibition is an initiative of EU project Sparks, which promotes Citizen Science and wants to let Europeans see that, together, we all bear the responsibility of scientific research and innovation. ‘Beyond the Lab’ will be on display for around four months, from Friday 23 November until 14 April 2019, in the UG University Museum on Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 7a, Groningen. The exhibition will be opened on Thursday evening with a lecture by microbiologist and columnist Rosanne Hertzberger.

More and more Do-It-Yourself (DIY) practitioners from across the planet are searching for solutions, conducting experiments and inventing things – all outside of the classic laboratory. These pioneers of DIY research use cheap sensors and smartphone apps and share information with online communities. In doing so, they are changing our idea of who and what a scientific researcher is, and what research can look like. Smartphones and social networks allow citizens and scientists to work together to collect information about all kinds of topics, from invasive mosquitoes to light pollution.

In healthcare, the availability of technology means that patients are able to get a better grip on their sickness or health. Patients are discovering radical new methods to improve their health and livelihoods. DIY Biology is a growing citizen movement whereby hackers and hobbyists get to work on genetics and molecular biology in kitchens, cellars, garages and community labs.


The potential of DIY science is enormous, but what does it lead to? Alongside personal stories, ‘Beyond the Lab’ will display three artworks that were developed in collaboration with Ars Electronica Futurelab in the Austrian city of Linz. Artists Lucy McRae, Jakob and Lea Illera and Anouk Wipprecht (Dutch) worked together for a few months with curators and scientists on new works that outline the future of science – out of the lab and into our lives.

Minerva Academy

During the first week of the exhibition, students of exhibition partner Minerva Academy of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences will be showing their results from the Minor in Intimate Technology, taught by Hermen Maat and Ingrid Nieboer. These are installations principally influenced by technological developments in our behaviours and our environment.

Last modified:12 March 2020 9.23 p.m.
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