On Saturday, December 4, 2021, Dr. Jennifer Willet participated as a guest keynote speaker during the Darwin 2021 virtual conference. Darwin 2021 is one of India's most significant evolutionary movements in biology. During the event, Dr. Willet spoke to viewers about her experiences as a BioArtist and as the Director of INCUBATOR Art Lab in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Other themes and topics explored during the conference included Cell Biology, Medical Biology, and BioArt.
Along with the talk, Dr. Willet offered viewers a virtual tour of the INCUBATOR Art Lab Studio and the BioArt Lab within the School of Creative Arts building at the University of Windsor. During the virtual tour, Dr. Jennifer Willet explained how INCUBATOR Art Lab functions as a studio space and laboratory! Located in the downtown core of Windsor, these labs are only two blocks apart from each other. The studio is not only a gallery space, but it is also a creative space to make, build, and store works of art. At the front studio is a greenhouse structure with a door that provides a BSL level 1 laboratory space - keeping all biologicals safely inside.
The main goal for the space is to host events such as lectures, workshops, meetings and ultimately to make BioArt more accessible to the community of Windsor. Dr. Willet's art practice centres around community engagement within Windsor, and her goal for the INCUBATOR Art Lab focuses on the same idea of community involvement.
In addition to the studio space, Dr. Willet toured the BSL level 2 laboratory in the School of Creative Arts (SOCA) Armouries building down the street from the studio. This laboratory is a teaching and research space. This SOCA lab is where the BioArt: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences class meets to engage in art production, theoretically and practically, in the biological sciences. Dr. Willet explained how students creatively use microbiology, microscopy, molecular biology, bacteria, algae, and cell and tissue cultures. In the end, Dr. Jennifer Willets talk and tour invited viewers to think about laboratory spaces as collaborative spaces where we host and breathe in life.
1-5 )Screenshot of Darwin 2021 Virtual Conference with Jennifer Willet, INCUBATOR Art Lab and Studio, University of Windsor SOCA, 2021. Screenshot Credit: Megan Andrews.