Stick insects meet dancing androids, cartoon characters in danger, making viruses from couscous, and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Great National Science Week ARTS stories up for grabs now around Australia.

  • Phasmid of the opera: performances featuring music, dance and a stick insect–Melbourne
  • How to make a reef from music and glass—Canberra
  • The art of event horizons–Melbourne
  • Famous Tasmanians talk science in the wilderness—Tasmania
  • Can you save a cartoon character from being plunged into a vat of acid?—Darwin
  • Beauty from the ashes: recovery after bushfires—Tasmania
  • Making viruses from couscous and chook-wire–Melbourne

These are just a few of the arts events happening across Australia during National Science Week (August 15 to 23).

If you’re after more great ideas for highly visual stories, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, artists and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week.

Individual event details and media contacts

Body / Insect / Machine—Carlton, VIC

Activators 2: Body/Insect/Machine is a series of videos featuring choreography by dancer Prue Lang, androids made by artist Mathieu Briand – and a stick insect. Together they comprise a movement experiment,  informed by evolutionary ecologist Professor Mark Elgar from the University of Melbourne.

The work explores the complex relationships between the natural and artificial, expressed as movement and intelligence. It is presented by dance company Chunky Move in association with Science Gallery Melbourne.

Saturday 15 – Monday 24 August. Event details

Choreographer and dancer Prue Lang, android creator Mathieu Briand, Science Gallery Melbourne creative director Ryan Jefferies, and Chunky Move artistic director and co-CEO Antony Hamilton are all available for interviews.

Requiem for a Reef—Canberra, ACT

Glass and sound combine to explore the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef in this art and music event.

Requiem for a Reef is presented glass artist Ngaio Fitzpatrick and composer Alexander Hunter.

Fitzpatrick’s glass installations are inspired by coral bleaching and climate change. Hunter’s haunting musical composition, will be performed using conventional instruments and glass objects. 

The performance will be followed by a Q&A with Ngaio Fitzpatrick and climate change experts.

Thursday 13 August. Event details

Event Horizon Symposium—Melbourne, VIC

This event brings together artists, physicists and cultural theorists to discuss what an ‘event horizon’ is, across topics ranging from black holes, dark matter, tipping points and new horizons.

Keynote speakers will include:

The Event Horizon Symposium, hosted by the University of Melbourne’s Centre of Visual Art and the Science Gallery Melbourne, will coincide with a special themed edition of Australia’s seminal art journal, Art + Australia, exploring the conjunction of art and science.

The symposium will take place virtually, on August 17 and 18. There will also be two live plenary sessions, via Zoom, on Friday, August 21.

Monday 17 – Friday 21 August. Event details

Avoidable Perils – Darwin Festival

A tank full of sharks, a deadly laser beam, a vat of acid – each night of the Darwin Festival, a feed of cartoon heroes in danger will be beamed outside to an audience of bystanders in Festival Park for ‘Avoidable Perils’,  a social experiment exploring activism and the need for social cooperation towards a greater good.

Audience members can be part of the solution, but no one can do it alone. If witnesses can rally enough people to participate in time, the hero can be saved. The question is, can anyone be bothered?

This interactive game for the masses explores activism in the attention economy and the need for social cooperation towards a greater good. These ideas are particularly poignant during the COVID-19 pandemic, where individual choices have an impact on our collective wellbeing.

Thursday 6 – Sunday 16 August. Event details

Artist Nathan Sibthorpe is available for interviews.

Sci Art Walks: audio-escapes in Tasmania’s wilderness

Sci Art Walks is a series of musical works, featuring unscripted talks by some of the state’s prominent scientists and cultural icons.

Join mathematical gambler and MONA founder David Walsh, marine ecologist Professor Gretta Pecl, musician Brian Ritchie, Guardian Australia cartoonist First Dog on the Moon, mathematician Professor Barbara Holland, and more.

Each episode will be paired with a suggested walking trail, located in parks and reserves, such as Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park and the Tasman Peninsula.

From Saturday 15 August. Event details

Sensory Science Exhibition: see, touch, and hear viruses—Melbourne, VIC

Make your own virus model using couscous and chicken wire, and listen to sounds inspired by viruses. 

In the Sensory Science Exhibition, artists Dr Erica Tandori and Stuart Favilla plunge us into a microscopic world, allowing us to see, touch, and hear viruses without the use of specialised scientific equipment.

Dr Erica Tandori is a legally blind artist-in-residence in the Rossjohn laboratory at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. She creates sculpture and interactive artworks designed to make the science of viruses accessible to people with low vision and other disabilities.

Stuart Favilla is a sound artist and lecturer within the School of Design at Swinburne University. His research interests span human computer interactions, ultrasound, mood disorders, and aged care.

The exhibition is designed to be easily accessed by everyone, with instructions and ASMR for people with low vision.

Exhibition now online

Beauty from the ashes—Hobart, TAS

Tasmania is a flammable island. The impact of bushfires can range from disturbance to disaster.

This online event explores how we respond to fire. It will begin with a short film about landscape recovery in areas of high conservation value that were affected by recent fires – including the Tasmanian Land Conservancy’s Five Rivers Site. The film also explores Tasmanian artists’ responses to the fires.

It will be followed by a discussion, led by Dr Penelope Jones and Dr Amy Jackett, featuring scientists, conservation leaders, artists and members of the Aboriginal community.  

Thursday 20 August. Event details

Organisers and panellists available for media interviews.

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year 1.5 million people participated in more than 2050 events around the country, in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

In 2020, the festival is almost entirely virtual, online, DIY and well-spaced. This means most events, large and small, is open to anyone, no matter where they live.

National Science Week 2020 will run from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at, public event listings at