Art to reveal the secrets of algae, their friends and foes! | Flanders Marine Institute

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Art to reveal the secrets of algae, their friends and foes!

Added on 2017-01-17
VLIZ did it before: bring together scientists and artists. And we do it again within the frame of the European research project ALFF (‘Algae microbiomes: Friends or Foes?’) that focuses on innovative research on algae. Fifteen PhD students from all over Europe are investigating how algae co-exist with bacteria, other microbes and algae. Young art students – from the BSc Multimedia & Communication Technology of the Karel de Grote Hogeschool Antwerp as well as textile designers from the high school Sint-Lucas in Ghent – are challenged to incorporate the newly achieved knowledge about algae in a set of creative products.

Photo: Sint-Lucas Ghent @TBKTMODETEXTIEL

ALFF covers a broad array of research topics all focusing on algae, a group of organisms often unknown and underrated by the general public. In this project, fifteen PhD students from 6 European countries are investigating how algae metabolisms are hindered or stimulated (growth, reproduction, functioning) by other organisms like bacteria or other algae. 

In 2015-2016 VLIZ started an experimental collaboration between scientists on one hand, and a group of first and second year students of the BSc Multimedia and Communication Technology of the Karel de Grote Hogeschool (Antwerp, Belgium). This cross-pollination between science and applied art resulted in the development of a a.o. series of short, informative, humoristic or artistic animations. These animations were officially judged and showcased in the Antwerp Kinepolis Cinemas. The best animations are made available here.
This academic year 2016-2017 we will continue the joint journey. Lector Ivan Waumans has started preparations to create, together with his students, some professional informative animations that will explain the focus, aims and relevance of the ALFF research to the general public.
Also the textile design teachers and students of the Sint-Lucas school of Arts (Ghent, Belgium) decided to join the project. They have started making creative designs, inspired by diatoms. They will get support and input from VLIZ and other ALFF-partners as to deepen their understanding of the relevance and functioning of algae, so they get inspired for their further designs throughout the rest of the academic year. We are looking forward to see more? Check their Facebook page.

For more information on this project: contact or


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