Are you an artist, musician, designer, biohacker or another cultural practitioner with an interest in biology? Applications are now open for the Artist in Residence programmes organised by Biofaction with MADONNA and two other European Commission-funded research projects, SINFONIA and NEWCOTIANA. The residencies have flexible start dates, starting in the Autumn of 2020 and ending in May 2021.

Four chosen artists will spend a period of four to six weeks at one of the participating European laboratories, all working on cutting-edge Synthetic Biology research, such as the assembly of artificial life or the production of microbial biosensors. Each artist will receive a stipend of up to 7000 € to cover travel, local expenses, accommodation and partial support for the production and showcasing of the artistic work.

Applicants must send a CV, portfolio and motivation letter to the organisers at Biofaction [art-science[at]] before the 30th June 2020. The email should specify one of the participating projects in the subject line — you can apply for more than one, but in that case, you must send separate applications for each project. Full details are provided in this PDF document.

Choose a lab

MADONNA offers two of the residencies at our partners’ laboratories: one will be at the Cronin Group, School of Chemistry, University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) and another at the Molecular Environmental Microbiology Laboratory, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia (Madrid, Spain). These labs take different approaches to MADONNA’s aim of implementing new-to–nature (NTN) reactions to turn industrial waste into a valuable resource.

Researchers at Prof Leroy Cronin’s Group in Glasgow explore complex chemical systems. They attempt to build functional molecular architectures that are not based on biological building blocks, and they study the assembly of artificial life in the lab. At the Molecular Environmental Microbiology Laboratory led by Prof Victor de Lorenzo, in Madrid, scientists perform genetic engineering on the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida. By tweaking the genome of this microbe, they produce living biosensors and bacteria capable of cleaning up chemical contamination.

As an artist in residence, you will engage with the scientists and their work, exploring the societal implications of Synthetic Biology and the long-term changes this discipline might bring to our lives. From mutual exchange, you will explore the visions, the challenges and the philosophical, aesthetic and ethical aspects of this endeavour. Possible themes for the artistic project at MADONNA labs include new-to-nature reactions, CO2 capture, chemorobots, engineered bacteria, synthetic bacteria, terraforming and sustainable production.

Besides the two residencies at MADONNA’s partner labs, NEWCOTIANA — a project centred on new uses for tobacco plants — offers one placement at the Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George’s, University of London. In addition, SINFONIA — searching for new ways to generate fluorine — offers another residency, preferably for a musician, at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark.