Loughborough University: Art and Science combine in upcoming exhibition as part of a project sharing the stories of international students in Higher Education

Between the Lines is a dynamic and creative intervention, in which Sarah has explored the lived experiences of international students studying at universities in the UK through DNA data storage.

DNA data storage is an emerging innovative technology that allows digital information to be encoded into synthetic (laboratory created) DNA. In the same way that we can store data on memory sticks or the cloud, DNA can also be used as a digital storage medium, with the digital data retrieved via DNA sequencing.

The digital data for this project are the written testimonies of international students who have faced difficult immigration practices, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These testimonies have been encoded into synthetic DNA by Twist Bioscience and this DNA has been embedded into writing ink and inserted into pens. Sarah is distributing these pens to staff at UK Higher Education institutions to highlight the issues facing these students so that their lived experiences can permeate these institutions as the pen holders use them in their daily work.

As part of the project, Sarah met with research groups and academics from Loughborough University, including the Politicised Practice Research Group and the Centre for Biological Engineering, in addition to student groups such as Loughborough FemSoc.

The exhibition, which will be held in the Martin Hall Gallery, will resemble a lab space with video footage and other displays which will share the processes and technology involved, demonstrating how art can work across multiple disciplines.

It will be open between 12pm-2pm on weekdays and is free to attend from 8 December-14 January (no booking required).

Sarah Selby is an interdisciplinary artist exploring digital culture through creative applications of emerging and pervasive technology. Her work blurs the boundaries between the digital and physical, manifesting intangible systems and interactions to explore how they overlap, contradict and impact one another. She was named the winner of arebyte Gallery’s ‘Hotel Generation’ programme and has been shortlisted for The Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize. Sarah is also a member of ‘The Immersive Kind’, a multidisciplinary collective exploring a tomorrow that is accessible, inclusive and sustainable through pioneering creative technology.

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