• ldougan38

The Art of Networks

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

Budding artists and scientists alike, join us for this live make-along to discover a world where science and art collide and make a masterpiece!


Image credit: Protein network collages created by participants of 'The Art of Networks' make-along, at the Be Curious festival, University of Leeds, 2021


Explore shape, line, colour and texture, and see how science can be a super starting point to get creative!


Watch the make-along workshop on You Tube here

Using the science of networks as our inspiration, we’ll create our own collages, made with materials you'd normally dispose of or recycle and found objects from nature. In the process, we’ll learn more about the amazing artists and inspirational illustrators who use collage to create works of art.

Suitable for all the family.

To make a collage, you will need:

  • paper,

  • glue,

  • scissors

  • a selection of materials to collage with.

Why not salvage some things that you'd normally put in the bin or recycle? You might want to use old magazines or newspapers, food packaging, items collected from the park or garden, or something else entirely!



The Art of Networks is a collaborative project by Dr Sonja Andrew and Professor Lorna Dougan, and benefited from many enjoyable conversation through the University of Leeds Creative Labs.


Our interest in networks stems from our research on network formation of protein hydrogels. We use biomolecules called proteins as our 'thread' and create networks by connecting through sticky bits on their surfaces, through photo-activated chemical cross-linking. This creates networks of cross-linked proteins with a well defined shape and materials properties. We use experimental techniques such as small angle scattering to understand the structures of networks.


You can read more about our research in this recent ACS Nano research paper here and in this Science highlight here

A protein network showing clusters of folded protein (red circles) connected by unfolded protein (red lines)
A cross-linked protein network

The project is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering through their Ingenious Public Engagement awards which aim to engage the public with an exciting variety of engineering themes. With topics ranging from engineering solutions to the global climate emergency to engineering bedtime stories for young children, the projects will work with diverse audiences across the UK, igniting interest in the wonders of engineering to help inspire the next generation of engineers. The Ingenious programme offers grants to support creative public engagement with engineering projects while providing engineers with skills and opportunities to share their stories, passion and expertise with the public.


We acknowledge funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Royal Academy Engineering (RAE) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

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