Kew Gardens// MA Art & Science Visit
Kew Gardens is best known for its spectacular greenhouses full of the most exotic plants and the rolling parklands with mature trees, but tucked away in the corners of the gardens the Jodrell Laboratory and the Herbarium are the driving force behind its reason for being. Kew is a global resource for plant and fungal knowledge with one of the largest and most diverse collections of plant and fungal specimens (living and preserved) in the world. Its unique combination of extensive collections, databases, scientific expertise and global partnerships gives it a leading role in facilitating access to fundamental plant and fungal information.
Not normally open to the public MA Art & Science students from CSM were treated to a tour of their extensive collections. Kew scientists revealed the methods for preparing some of the seven million dried specimens in the Hebarium and Fungarium and the systematic methods of cataloguing and storing them. In the Jodrell a range of microscopy processes were shown and how their research was used for crime scene forensics and in identifying wood and plants traded illegally. The library was where art met science with its enviable collection of illustrations and drawings from the past thousand years of botanical art.
The visit has already spawned collaborative enquiries from students investigating bio-technology and the role that plants can have in developing new urban materials fit for a sustainable future.