Bath's Annual Fringe Visual Arts Festival
FAB is Bath's only visual arts festival, we actively promote and celebrate contemporary art in the Bath area and beyond, showcasing early career artists and curators, and those who find it difficult to break into (or prefer to operate outside of) the gallery based art scene.
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Expressions of Research - Research & Arts collaboration

Fringe Arts Bath, University of Bath’s Public Engagement Unit and ICIA are looking for Artists to collaborate with Researchers. (FaB, UoB, PEU, ICIA) 

We wish to develop an exhibition based on internationally leading research conducted at the UoB to build awareness within Bath and beyond as part of University’s 50th anniversary celebrations, via engagement between artists and researchers. The exhibition would then tour to a number of venues in BANES between July 2016 and September 2017. 

Artists and Researchers are to work together, drawing from and influencing each other’s work. This is not simply about presenting research in a different light, we are interested in you making contributions to each other’s working practice, resulting in new and exciting works to be presented in a new way to a new audience.

Through regular meetings you will build a working relationship with your researcher. The conversations and decisions you both have will guide and develop you.

The Brief

Artists are invited to work with one of these UoB research centres:

You will have 5 months to work alongside your chosen research centre, developing creative and scientific responses through conversations and workshop time.

Collaborators must document the project as it progresses, and consider the challenges and impact this experience has on your practices. Please click their name above or scroll down for more information about each centre.

Who are we looking for?

Submissions from a range of creative practitioners from all specialisms can apply including performance, fine art, new media. To apply please submit up to 500 words detailing your interest in the project to include:

  • Which University research center you would like to work with
  • Why
  • What your initial approach would be Remember your project will develop and grow over the five months
  • Please include the media you would be working in and how this could have positive impact on your practice
  • Include a short artist C.V with examples of past work

What we offer you:

  • Award of £800 towards costs and materials paid in 2 parts
  • Project support through regular meetings
  • Programing of a touring exhibition
  • Useful contacts to help with the production of final works
  • A really interesting experience!

What we ask of you and timeline:

Artist submissions deadline.
Please email to

Selection responses to be sent out.
Meeting: project kick-off with Artists & Researchers, facilitated by FaB & PEU, hosted by ICIA at The Edge building at UoB.
April - Sept 2016
Paired with a research team, you will work alongside each other influencing each other’s working practice, learning from each other’s ideas and methodologies. We ask of you, collectively a minimum of:

  • 2x reciprocal visits to each other’s workspaces
  • 3x blog entries (written, video, drawn, diagram) chronicling the process

May 2016
Meeting: collaborations to date, reflections, facilitated by FaB & PEU
August 2016
Meeting: collaborations to date, reflections, facilitated by FaB & PEU
Sept 2016
All work to be completed
Sept - Nov 2016

  • Exhibition in central Bath and at the Edge
  • Presentation evening of talks to open the Bath exhibition
  • Participatory workshops if relevant

Sept 2016 - Sept 2017
Repeated exhibitions, varied locations in Bath and the surrounding area, details TBC, to include UoB’s Manvers St site in August 2017.


Institute for Mathematical Innovation

Dr Kit Yates, Dept of Mathematical Sciences, 

Guiding principles

I am interested in representing biological phenomena mathematically. In particular I am interested in biological processes in which randomness plays an important role. I like to think my work is mathematically elegant at the same time as replicating beautiful biological patterning. In particular, I have worked on representing the formation of pigment patterns on animals, replicating the way that eggs get patterned inside birds and modelling the startling coherent switched in behaviour of groups of animals (e.g. starlings/fish/locusts) who move collectively.

Modelling cell migration

I am interested in modelling the way that pigment producing cells migrate in the early embryos. Through building mathematical/computational representations of the way that cells move through the embryo we can untangle the way that often complex patterns are formed.

Animals acquire the pigmentation patterns on their skin at a very early stage in development. A small number of cells that will go on to produce pigment originate at region at the back of the embryo where the spine will form. The cells then spread around the outside of the embryo, through the developing skin, to the front of the embryo that will eventually become the belly of the animal. As the cells spread they also divide to produce daughter cells which help to populate the domain.

Chimeric mice - mice who develop from a mixture of two embryos amalgamated at a very early stage of development - are often found to have striped coat patterns. The predominating theory is that each of the stripes corresponds to the progeny of a single initiator cell present at the start of the migration process migrating in a directed way from back to front leaving a trail of pigmented cells behind them.

Our mathematical model instead shows that cells actually move in a random way, with stripes being formed by several cells of the same colour coming together.

Fig 1: The striped pattern of cells along the horizontal axis (top dark, bottom light) in (a) is resolved into a range of different colours (b) each representing an initial initial cell. The stripe frmation is not caused by directed migration of cells, but by colalescence of lik-coloured cells.

Scientists have previously shown that a variety of mutations in the kit gene can cause the characteristic white spots on the forehead and belly commonly seen in piebald patterns, but until now the exact process which causes this depigmented region was unclear.

In animals with a mutation in the kit gene, the darkly pigmented cells don’t reach as far as the belly, resulting in a dark-coloured animal with a light coloured belly. It was previously thought that this failure of colonisation was due to cells in the mutant embryo migrating more slowly than their non-mutant counterparts.

In animals with the piebald mutation, their characteristic patchy pattern isn’t due to their pigment cells moving more slowly, as previously thought, but instead it’s because these darkly coloured cells multiply more slowly so they don’t spread as far to cover the whole body.


Fig 2: The Piebald pattern (depigmented area at the front of the embryo) is recapitulated in the model (b) when we reduce the rate at which cells can divide in comparison to (a) in which the normal division rate allows the cells to properly populate the domain.

Collective behaviour of animals

During swarming, locusts tend to move in the same direction as their neighbours, but then spontaneously switch direction together as a group, a behaviour also seen in other animal groups such as starlings and fish. These spontaneous switching behaviours, mediated by the local interactions of individuals are an example of an “emergent phenomenon” – one which would be difficult to predict from the basic underlying rules which the animals follow in order to interact with each other.

I am interested in using Mathematical models to represent the swarming behaviour of locusts and to try to understand how we can break these swarms apart. The video below provides some context for our experiments.

Our most recent paper on locust migration gained a good deal of media attention: BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday morning – listen from 50 minutes.

The BBC world Newsday programme: (listen from 15.55 min)

The BBC website

The conversation (article – read over 60,000 times):

Egg patterning

As a side project I am also interested in the way that eggs get their patterns. I have produced a computational model which attempts to replicate the beautiful patterns seen on some eggs.

Fig 3: Some patterns on real eggs (a) and some simple charicture patterns produced by my computational model (b).


Centre for Health Innovation and Improvement

Systems modelling and simulation in healthcare

Dr Christos Vasilakis, School of Management,

Systems modelling and simulation can help us take better decisions about any changes, any innovations, any re-organisations, any service redesigns we've set out to implement to improve the health service.

It helps by providing the means to test the likely impact of these changes on a number of different metrics: e.g., quality and safety of care provided, patient and carer experience, costs of running a service.

What it actually entails is the creation of a virtual hospital or health service on a computer, akin to the virtual worlds we see in computer games - without the fancy graphics though.

Then instead of experimenting with the real health service and all the problem that this may entail (safety problems, ethical problems, cost considerations etc.) we can experiment with the virtual hospital on the computer and see what happens if we change something in the way it operates.

For example, we recently worked with two hospitals in London to model and simulate their hospital pharmacy operations.

Hospital pharmacies deal with many hundred and even thousand prescriptions on a daily basis; many different staff, receptionists, technicians, pharmacists are involved to discharge a single prescription, they even have automated robots to help with the dispensing process.

So the questions were, how many staff do we need and of what type to better serve our patients; how best to allocated our staff during the day to better cope with the demand that varies during the day; is it worth expanding the automated robot and at great expense?

It turned out that making small changes to the shift patterns of staff during a day has a considerable impact on prescription turnaround times, and that, at least given the parameters of the problem at the time, there was no need to invest in expanding the capacity of the automated robot; thus saving the Trust the money it may have invested to it.

The following two figures show some schematics representation of constructs used to model a health system.

Figure 1. Example of modelling construct: Statecharts with duty rotation of surgeons in cardiac surgery

Figure 2. Example of modelling construct: Agent-based modelling study in patient adherence to medication - patient Statecharts.


Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT)

Sustainability is defined as "the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Achieving sustainable development is the key global challenge of the 21st Century. Our current reliance on fossil carbon (coal, oil and gas) is unsustainable; it is a finite resource and its use leads to CO2 emissions, causing climate change.

The CSCT works to develop a range of sustainable technologies, which span a wide range of areas, many of which make major impacts on society (see One of our key research interests is using renewable resources and biotechnology to make fuels, chemicals and products from biomass rather than from fossil carbon. Current research projects in this area include: making plastics from plants (e.g., biodegradable bottles and textiles); making chemicals from terpenes (e.g., paracetamol from citrus oils); and using bacteria, yeast and fungi to convert waste into valuable materials.

Professor Matthew Davidson
Dr Janet Scott