Striking images of 'Research as Art' go on display at the Ri

The Ri hosts a public display of the winning pictures from the 2013 Research as Art competition run by Swansea University.

  • 2013 Runner-up: 'Medieval disfigurement - A graphic guide', Patricia Skinner (Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research)

    2013 Runner-up: 'Medieval disfigurement - A graphic guide', Patricia Skinner (Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research)

    Credit: Swansea University & Patricia Skinner


A comic strip explaining the wonders of X-ray scanning and 3D printing, demonstrated by printing a perfect replica of a Kinder Surprise toy without breaking the egg, is amongst the winning pictures from the 2013 Research as Art competition, which are about to go on public display at the Royal Institution in London.

Judged by a panel from the Royal Institution, Royal Academy of Arts, NewScientist and Research Councils UK, Research as Art is open to researchers from all subjects across Swansea University, with an emphasis on telling the research story, as well as providing a striking image.

The images will be on show to the public for free in the Royal Institution building in London, Mayfair from 14 October to 15 November 2013.  They will be displayed in the Ri’s atrium exhibition space, right next to Michael Faraday’s original laboratory, where he conducted his experiments on electromagnetism.  All winning pictures plus a selection of other entries will be on show in the exhibition, which is open to the public.

The Research as Art competition, which has been running for four years, encourages researchers to convey the emotion of their research, showing the beauty and also the human story behind it.  The entries show what it means to be a researcher: the excitement, the dedication, the day-to-day process, the 'failed' experiments. 

Entries came from researchers in many different subjects, with the winning images including titles such as:

See all 15 winning images, plus 10 other entries just released

Dr Richard Johnston, senior lecturer in the college of engineering at Swansea University and British Science Association Media Fellow, created the project, which is supported by the Bridging the Gaps programme, Dr Johnston said:

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to display Swansea research in the heart of London, in one of the world's leading scientific institutions.  It gives us the chance to share with a very wide audience the beauty and diversity of the research carried out here in Swansea University.”

“The competition is the only one of its kind, open to all researchers, with an emphasis on the research story, in addition to the striking image.  Images and stimulating abstracts are a great way of showing the public the wonder of research that goes on in our University. It's an opportunity for researchers to engage, inform, and inspire people. Researchers have a responsibility to make their research accessible.and the thirst from the public is certainly there!”

Dr Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution, said:

"As one of the judges for the Research as Art competition, I felt that more people should be given the opportunity to have a peek at them. Not only are some of the images simply stunning, but the beauty also lies in the fact that they are combined with a narrative that explains the work and puts it into context. The result is a collection of images that have wide appeal beyond the usual scientific circle. Visitors to the Ri over the coming month certainly have a treat in store.  


More information

Notes to Editor 

About the winning image:  Laura North’s explanation, accompanying her winning image, is as follows:

"The comic strip depicts the process of using both non-destructive testing and rapid prototyping techniques to replicate a toy found in a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg.  Each individual image captures a specific and important stage of Project Surprise; all of which are performed during day-to-day activities in the lab. The comic strip was designed to mirror the project, which began as a fun experiment for Easter, and also to allow the method to be accessible to a wider audience.
It may seem silly and insignificant to wish to replicate a toy from inside a Kinder Surprise without damaging the egg at all.  However, the concept has many other exciting and broad applications. These range from collaborating with the Egyptology department in identifying and reproducing mummified snake remains, to the concept being utilised in modern medicine, with perfectly fitting joint replacements."

Judging panel

  • Dr. Gail Cardew – Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution, Vice-President of Euroscience, Wellcome Collection Advisory Panel, EPSRCPeerReviewCollege
  • Flora Graham – Digital Editor of, also worked for BBC, CBC and CNET UK as a writer/broadcaster
  • Kathleen Soriano – Director of Exhibitions, RoyalAcademy of the Arts
  • Prof. Noel Thompson – Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at SwanseaUniversity, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Prof. John Womersley – Research Councils UK Executive Board, RCUK Champion for Public Engagement with Research, and Chief Executive Officer of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)



Kevin Sullivan, Swansea University Public Relations Office

01792 513245 / 07768 670 581

Dr Richard Johnston, Research as Art Director

01792 606 576 / 07870  594 353