The first Write a Science Opera (WASO) Summer School took place at Stord, Norway in August, 2014. During the Summer School, participants (musicians, scientists, educators, drama professionals, scenographers and more) from 7 countries created an original Science Opera. The opera, “Scarlet’s Choice”, was inspired by technological and ethical questions in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Human Brain.
The following are quotations of several participants about the Summer School:
“WASO is a fantastic opportunity for science teachers and others from a science background to collaborate with music, art and drama specialists to create something unique. The training programme is challenging yet great fun and is both stimulating and informative. If you want to invigorate your science teaching and work with enthusiastic and talented people from a wide range of backgrounds, then the WASO course is for you! I’m looking forward to putting the techniques I’ve learnt into practice and communicating the joy of WASO with colleagues and students back at home.”
Dr Richard Spencer, MBE MSB CSciTeach CBiol PGCE PgCERT BSc (Tech) PhD, Head of Science, Middlesbrough College, UK
“It was an unforgettable experience for me! I was in need of such an experience in my life”.
Sandra Ladeira, Science Teacher (Portugal)
“We had some very inspiring lectures about how to explain science via the arts, or where the arts meet science.Professors and lecturers with an impressive curriculum stole our hearts. They made us laugh, they made us wonder, they made us dance… and they made us cry. Because only now I realised that I might have been a great scientist…if only I would have experienced this connection, the artistic identity of science, during my childhood!
The other thing that impressed me a lot is how we were gently pushed to explore our limits.If you would have told me on Monday that I would be playing the double bass in an opera performance on Friday (I never touched this instrument before) and that I actually would have composed some music for this opera, then I really would have laughed. Well… I’m thinking right now that it might be fun to take some double bass lessons….
Thanks again for this opportunity and your wonderful training”.
Josephine Schreibers, leader of Education Department, the Vlaamse Opera, Belgium
“The Research Foundation to Cure AIDS (RFTCA) is building a scientific and clinical alliance to develop the cure for AIDS and to make it available and affordable worldwide. The arts have always played a role in HIV research, starting in the beginning of the epidemic where the arts was vital to mobilize public support to begin research in HIV/AIDS. Today, we are seeing artists flock to our project and we are grateful to enjoy their support. Individuals in RFTCA attended the WASO workshop in Stord, Norway, to explore how this group is pioneering the creation of artistic works that combine the arts and sciences. We came away inspired and full of ideas how to realize an artistic production of our own. The team at Stord even helped us to develop initial ideas and themes for consideration, and we also took away many great ideas and thinking on how to organize and facilitate the creative process to foster a collaborative and fertile experience and environment for our artists. We look forward to continuing a collaboration with WASO as we create our own staged productions relating to HIV/AIDS. RFTCA believes that the arts can connect ideas to people in an emotional and visceral way; we are engaging the arts to connect people to the science leading to a cure for AIDS, and WASO showed us the approach and the way. We are grateful for the preparation and thought that the organizers of WASO and the administrators of the program and facilities have put into the workshop.”
Dr. Kambiz Shekdar, Biologist, Rockefeller University (New York City, USA)
“The CREAT-IT WASO summer school was, by far, one of my most unexpected training courses, and truly a lifetime experience! As a music teacher, I felt really overwhelmed by being able to take part in such a learning process, in which we learned how to write a thematic science opera from scratch! “Write a Science Opera” was indeed the main topic for our journey and sharing this great opportunity with so many distinguished colleagues from so many different backgrounds and countries, revealed the outmost spiritual essence of this journey. A great connection and a natural empathy dominated the entire course among all participants, led by an amazing group of instructors and supported by science experts/investigators who brought and shared with us their own investigations in the field. In the end, it was determinant to build up and achieve the best possible outcome for our science opera. In spite of the tight schedules and intense work during the training course, it all happened so spontaneously and so intensely that it exceeded way beyond my best expectations. Lots of fun! It really gave me a new perspective for building up further creative strategies to work with our students in the coming years. Thank you WASO!”
Victor Gomes, Musician and Educator, Portugal
“Truly enriching and inspiring. The WASO Summer School showed the common path between science and art: creativity”.
Andreia Sousa, Musician and Educator, Portugal
“Although I received both an artistic than a (more) scientific education, I could not imagine how those two could be combined together. But after following the WASO-course in Norway, I am not only convinced it IS possible, I also hope to start up this project in my own college in Belgium”.
Tom van den Broek, Musician and Educator (AP College, Belgium)