In celebration of 100 years of the Women’s Institute, local branches of the WI this week visited the UK’s synchrotron, Diamond Light Source. As part of their centenary celebrations, the WI is transporting a special baton across the country to different branches nationwide. During its stopover in Didcot, the baton came, along with 70 WI branch members, to Diamond Light Source: a site of special significance to the group.
Back in 2006, the WI participated in a Wellcome Trust-funded project, to create textile art representing the health related research that takes place at Diamond. In collaboration with The Oxford Trust and Diamond, the WI created 30 panels that depict diseases such as HIV, Alzheimer’s, and breast cancer, as well as iconic scientific images such as diffraction patterns, a DNA fingerprint, and even a synchrotron.
Under the guidance of leading textile artist, Anne Griffiths, over 1000 scientists and members of the WI contributed to the art project, making Designs for Life one of the largest science and art fusion projects ever to have taken place in the UK. Almost a decade later, in April 2015, the WI returned to Diamond to revisit the panels and celebrate the beauty of their creations. The group enjoyed tea and biscuits, a short talk on the Designs for Life project, and a presentation on the scientific achievements of the facility since its opening in 2007.