Menai Science Park combines the power of arts and science

M-SParc, Wales’ first dedicated Science Park, is working with artists in order to take science into the local community. This exciting, Bangor University owned development is set to open its doors in early 2018, and this project is a taste of the innovation to come.

The aim of M-SParc is to accommodate and support businesses in order to help them grow while retaining their talent here in North Wales. Part funded by European Regional Development Funding through the Welsh Government, the M-SParc project is also focusing on the winder community. Taking inspiration from companies such as Google and Apple, M-SParc will continue working on creating a buzz around the science and technology sector of North Wales. The ‘Tanio’ collaborative arts project, partly funded with by the Arts Council fo Wales is one way they are doing this.

Art is becoming an increasingly popular way to help people engage with the Sciences, and as companies strive to become more innovative, creative, and ahead of the curve, the gap between science and art is narrowing. The ‘Tanio’ arts project brings 6 artists together on different strands to create something special.

Manon Awst, an artist from Anglesey, will be managing the Tanio project. With a background in architecture, Manon has worked in London and Berlin, and now lives in Caernarfon while she completes a PhD at Bangor University. As part of the Tanio project, Manon will also be developing an artwork with the architects who designed the building, FaulknerBrowns.

Honey Jones-Hughes is a Welsh artist, making work that encourages discussion around social and political issues. Her Tanio project, ‘Match’, involves working with scientist and academics to explore the journeys women have taken within science and industry in Wales.

Owen Davies, a lecturer at Bangor University, is working on ‘Pi’ in collaboration with local furniture maker Tom Vousten. This aspect focuses on working with three primary schools to developing an exciting artwork that bridges the digital and hand crafted, which will be housed both at M-SParc and Techniquest Glyndwr.

Iolo Penri, a photographer from Caernarfon, will explore the relationship between energy, industry and landscape on Anglesey. This ‘Flach’ element of the project will come together with the help of local community photography clubs.

Rachel Rosen, working on ‘Ignite’, focuses on the transformation of materials and objects. Collaborating with zero-waste expert Rebecca Coley-Jones, she will research opportunities for re-igniting and reusing waste from the M-SParc construction site. Rachel will also hold a series of workshops with Coleg Menai students. M-SParc itself has a focus on reducing waste, and this will continue when operational with a building that is energy efficient and considerate to the environment.

Mei Mac will focus on the ‘Splash’ element. A graphic designer and cartoonist, Mei Mac will collaborate with pupils from Ysgol Esceifiog in Gaerwen to develop a series of poems and slogans which will be displayed within the first building. It is important that children are allowed to help collaborate on the design of this flagship building, as M-SParc hopes to inspire them and show that it is possible for them to develop high-level careers here in North Wales when they are older.

Manon Awst said “This project allows art and science to come together in a practical but very exciting way. All the artists will be working with local schools and community groups, and we hope that this will be a creative and engaging way for children to see science in a different light. Ultimately, we could be inspiring the next generation of Scientists and Entrepreneurs here in North Wales”.

Pryderi ap Rhisiart, Project Manager for M-SParc, said “The Tanio project is one of several community benefits we are providing through the project alongside our contractors, Willmot Dixon. We have already worked to encourage more women into construction, provided internships for seven Bangor University students, assisted an architect graduate from Anglesey to find work on site, created apprenticeship opportunities, and hosted lectures for the local college.

We hope to continue working with young people and the wider community as we open our doors in early 2018, and hopefully encourage them to start thinking about their future careers, and the possibility of staying within their home region when they do go out to work.

We also want to inspire the scientists and entrepreneurs already working in the region. M-SParc will be a hub of creative energy and collaboration, and with dedicated business support available for all tenants we hope we can create the perfect environment to help businesses to thrive.”

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