Public Engagement


Selina Wray and the Brains team co-creating petri dish mosaics with students from Barnsley College


Pipe cleaner neurons animated with finger lights


Pipe cleaner neurons animated with finger lights


Local Barnsley children making pipe cleaner neurons


Making brain cell cultures as part of our family drop in sessions at Cooper Gallery


Vibrant brain cell culture mosaics created by participants at Cooper Gallery


Projections of the vibrant brain cell culture mosaics created by Barnsley College students


Examining imagined brain cell cultures through the magnifier


Vibrant brain cell culture mosaics created by participants at Cooper Gallery


Making test tube lava lamps with the Cooper Gallery learning team


STEM students learn how to build their own Brain Cell Bristle Bot as part of our Barnsley Brain's engagement programme


A STEM student at Barnsley College wearing our Brainscan Headdress


Barnsley's brains light up our Brainscan headdress during family drop in sessions


Contributors to Barnsley College Brain Teaser activities L-R Ruth Morgan, Robin Bussell, Rebecca Trotman, Dr Eric Hill, Charlie Murphy, Professor Selina Wray, , Rhein Parri, Dr David Jenkins, Danny Bacchus & Dominic Green


Co creating glass Selina Cells for our Cooper Gallery installation


Local primary schools learn about glass with a stellar hot glass team from Minimelt


Local families learn about glass with a stellar hot glass team from Minimelt


Charlie introduces local Barnsley legends to the Brainscan Headdress


Our Brainscan headdress proves irresistable at Cooper Gallery family drop in sessions

The Brains in a Dish project team deliver a diverse portfolio of dynamic , hands-on creative activities to inform and illuminate important features of the brain and showcase some of the ground-breaking technologies currently used in dementia research to try to understand these conditions on a cellular level.

Hands On : We deliver creative and accessable activities for families, schools and community groups. Activities  include creating your own pipe cleaner neurons and neural networks, collaging brain cell cultures in petri dishes, programming laser light pathways, learning how to blow a glass ‘Selina Cells’ and creating your own mini braincell ‘bristle bots’.

AI + Digital : Robin Bussell has  adapted machine learning neural networks (Media Pipe)  to create a highly immersive embodied navigation tool through which participants are invited to see inside real people’s brains to learn about the brain. Using movement of your arms and bodies, participants navigate and explore 3D imagery through layers of brain imagery which offer important insights  into  how dementia impacts brain health.

This innovative Brain-Body-Interfaces invite you to interactively explore  amazing scientific imagery used to study real people’s brains and witness powerful differences between brain health and impacts of dementias. Imagery captured as part of the amazing MIRIAD data set has been showcased through this new educational tool

Murphy & Bussell’s colourful Brainscan Headdress visualises brain activity through colours and patterns of light. Your movements navigate through beautifully intricate layers and spaces of brain images, .

Our targeted activities for schools, young people and adult community groups aim to raise the profile of dementia research and inform the aspirations of a wide range of local young people and communities interested in science, technology and the arts.

Our recent Barnsley Brains programme was financially supported by Barnsley Museums & Heritage trust, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Alzheimer Research UK’s Inspire Fund and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Nov 2021 What can Science offer the Arts? Panel discussion event for Medi-Culture Festival, supported by Team London Bridge & SC1

Oct 2021 Professor Selina Wray’s inaugaural lecture,UCL (online)

Jan 2021 Growing the Stuff of Thought, (online) cocktail hour discussion, Normal? Festival of the Brain, Folkestone

May 2019  How to grow a human Talk and new book by Philip Ball, Royal Institute, London

May 2018 Murphy + Wray’s Neuronal Disco, created for Southbank’ B(old) Festival

May 2018 Charlie Murphy  artist talk on the Brains in a Dish work in progress for Rare Dementia Support groups ( Hub,Wellcome Collection) , London

April 2018  Making monsters? Ethical gene editing discussion event,  The Theatre, Royal Institute, London. Phillip Ball’s panel discussion including presentation from Dr Selina Wray

October 2017 Charlie Murphy, Dr Selina Wray and researcher Christopher Lovejoy contributed to Pint of Science/Creative Reactions : Dimensions of Dementia event, London,

Nov 2017 “Disco Morphologies- Dancing the connections between art and science’ presentation by Charlie Murphy and Dr Selina Wray for Powerful Partners at Royal Society for Public Health, London


Professor Selina Wray updating on twitter


Professor Wray's inaugaural lecture describing her Barnsley roots


Professor Selina Wray's inaugural lecture including updates on the Brains project


Our robotic lasers adapted to enable participants to programme their own synaptic pathways -part of Murphy + Bussell's R+D supported by Arts Council England


Updates from the Wray Lab at UCL


Images from the Wray Lab @ UCL - an amazing 'cellfie' image


Brain teaser Cocktails + project presentations for lockdown audiences at Normal? Festival of the Brain in 2021


Members of the Brains team sharing Brain Teaser Cocktails and project updates for online audiences at Normal? Festival of the Brain in 2021


Brain teaser Cocktails for online audiences at Normal? Festival of the Brain in 2021


Writer and broadcaster Philip Ball talking about his participation in the project and inspiration for his book How to Grow a Human ...


Charlie's skin to mind video installation at Normal? Festival of the Brain in 2018


Professor Selina Wray at Downing street


Wray Lab updates about ongoing Brains in a Dish dialogues..