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Protocell and DNA [2.30pm session]

  • State Library of Western Australia 25 Francis Street Northbridge Australia (map)
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Facilitators: SymbioticA

In his 1911 book the Mechanism of Life, Stephane Leduc tried to prove that life is merely a chemical process. In a series of experiments, he showed the emergence of life-like phenomena of different degrees of complexity. In this workshop we will try to replicate one of the experiments – creating basic protocells using salt solutions and ink.

In the second part of the workshop, participants employ the same real-world laboratory procedure used in a variety of biotechnology research applications to extract DNA from many different organisms. Participants extract genomic DNA from their own cheek cells, then precipitate and bottle it in a helix-shaped necklace.

Moonboorli (Beyond) takes place on Whadjuk Country, the ancestral lands of the Noongar nation. Propel Youth Arts WA acknowledges the traditional owners of Country throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to land and culture. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.


When: Saturday 10 August, 2.30 - 5pm
Where: Kimberley Room, State Library of WA

This workshop is recommended for ages 14 - 26

About the facilitators

SymbioticA, based at the University of Western Australia is the first research laboratory of its kind, enabling artists and researchers to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department. With an emphasis on experiential practice, SymbioticA encourages better understanding and articulation of cultural ideas around scientific knowledge and informed critique of the ethical and cultural issues of life manipulation. SymbioticA offers new means of artistic inquiry, one in which artists actively use the tools and technologies of the life sciences, not just to comment about them, but also to explore their possibilities.

About Moonboorli (Beyond)

Presented by Propel Youth Arts WA, Moonboorli (Beyond) is a new youth-focused program of free events celebrating science through culture, ideas, knowledge and storytelling, taking place at the State Library of WA on Saturday 10 August.

Get involved and experience science in creative and unexpected ways through a day-long program of presentations, workshops, performances, installations, activities, and showcases of the latest scientific developments. This is your chance to meet people who can change the world and learn how you can make an impact of your own.

We respectfully acknowledge the contributions of Dr Noel Nannup, Madjital Moorna, and Koondarm, to the development of the name and theme for this event. We are grateful for the knowledge we have gained by consulting with these groups and Elders.

Moonboorli (Beyond) is a National Science Week WA Co-ordinating Committee initiative and is supported by the Australian Government through Inspiring Australia as part of National Science Week.

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology, and an opportunity to meet scientists, discuss the hot topics, do science and celebrate its cultural and economic impact on society. National Science Week 2019 will run from 10-18 August. Find out more at

Earlier Event: August 10
Keynote Presentation - Andrea Boyd
Later Event: August 10
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