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Between people and perfection: behind the scenes at Science Gallery Melbourne

Photo taken by Nicole Cleary at Science Gallery Melbourne PERFECTION opening 18 September

Emma Byers recently had a 40-minute debate with a stranger about whether humans should have relationships with robots. 

“It’s a great day at work when you feel you’ve really connected with someone and [they] look you in the eye at the end and say ‘thank you that was a great chat’”.

As a lead mediator at 'Perfection', the latest instalment of Science Gallery Melbourne,  Emma spends her day challenging people to see the world differently, in a cutting edge- space where science and art collide.

As a student who felt “super gripped” by both atoms and adjectives at high school, Emma always felt she had to choose between a career in science or the humanities. After initially choosing to go down the science path, she later happily discovered a place where the two happily coexisted. 

“I found out about Science Gallery when I went to a random public talk and the director from Science Gallery London [spoke] about the social forces of creativity…I was like 'Science Gallery sounds like the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of.'"

This experience changed everything for Emma. After completing a degree in neuroscience, she decided to peruse further studies in mental health and later, science communication.

Emma's "dream came true" when Science Gallery set up its first Melbourne exhibition ‘Blood’ in 2017. She jumped at the chance to be part of it and eagerly returned for the 2018 season of ‘Perfection’.

For Emma, the brilliance of Science Gallery lays in its exploration of the "messy" place where art and science intersect.

“I’ve had some really amazing conversations with people in the gallery, especially young people. I’m always astounded by how interesting and multifaceted their ideas are about the artworks”. 

Emma also hopes Science Gallery inspires other young people to peruse further studies or a career in STEM- a mission shared by BASF.

David Hawkins, BASF Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, is also an avid supporter of Science Gallery Melbourne and hopes the ‘Perfection’ exhibition will inspire a new generation of innovators.

“Science Gallery innovatively supports our mission to engage and retain young adults in STEM education. The future of science is in the hands of the next generation and with this we know that it is critical to continue to evolve the way we communicate how interesting and rich a career in science can be.”

BASF is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Science Gallery Melbourne youth mediators program. Science Gallery Melbourne’s PERFECTION is on at The University of Melbourne’s School of Design until 3 November.