As part of the R&D process for my current project, I recently delivered two outreach events with families and school children. We looked at micro fibre plastic under the microscope and discussed it’s implications on ecosystems and the environment.

Forensic scientist Pam Hamer was very helpful in suggesting ways to test the shedability of fibres from garments and came up with a quick easy and way for children to create their own ‘microscope slides’ using clear tape and a clear backing of OHP acetate. Polorised filters help to distinguish synthetic fibres such as polmeric ones from natural fibres such as wool and cotton. One identifying feature of some synthetic fibres is the fact that they’re hollow, identifiable at magnitudes of 10x or higher.

Towards the end of May, at Alexandra Park, I was joined my members of the Quekett Club (Dennis Fullwood and Paul Smith) and Friends of Alexandra Park to deliver a joint outreach initiative which looked at Diatoms, bugs and micro fibre plastic. Local families collected samples from the surrounding area and, in my case, looked for evidence of microfibres and examined fibres on clothing.

This month, I also delivered an artist talk and workshops to Year 6 students at Netley Primary School in Camden. I talked to the children about how my upbringing in the Dolomites has informed my artistic practice, especially in terms of environmental issues. I spoke about how I’m currently using microscopes as my artists’ tools to produce video outcomes that look at micro fibre plastics. I ran two workshops where we created our own microscopic slides using clear tape and acetate. We also talked about the importance of thinking and acting intelligently in order to protect the environment. I found the children to be very open to ideas of change in order to safeguard the environment.

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