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The University of Oxford’s science-inspired art competition is back for its third year and is now open for entries from state school students in Years 5 to 8, across Oxfordshire.

Beyond Boundaries researchers and artwork from a previous competitions

Launched in 2018 and now in its third year, Beyond Boundaries is a bi-annual competition organised by MPLS Division, which aims to increase the visibility of Oxford scientists and mathematicians from Black, Asian and Minority-Ethnic backgrounds, and to inspire young people to engage with art and science by breaking down perceived boundaries between the two.

School students are invited to find out about the work and career paths of six Oxford researchers whose profiles have been shared on the Oxford Sparks website. They choose one researcher to focus on as inspiration for a piece of art, which can be created in any medium (for example, a painting, drawing, sculpture, animation, dance, or poem). The resulting work is submitted to the competition along with a short, written statement about what they have created.

Daisy Hung, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion for MPLS Division, said: ‘Beyond Boundaries is all about encouraging school children to engage with science and art in fun and creative ways. It’s also helping us to strengthen our existing connections with local communities and schools and attract more families into the University’s spaces to see the amazing pieces of art that entrants produce.

‘This is the first year we’ve extended our researcher profiles to cover representatives from the medical sciences at Oxford, as well as the mathematical, physical and life sciences, and we can’t wait to see what the students come up with this year!’

This year’s highlighted Beyond Boundaries researchers are:

  • Chy Akpulu – DPhil student, Department of Biology (Linacre College)
  • Zhiyao Luo – DPhil student, Department of Engineering Science (Reubens College)
  • Morgan Mitchell – DPhil student, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Reubens College)
  • Misha Patel – DPhil student, Department of Engineering Science (St Catherine's College)
  • Lauren Rudd – DPhil student, Department of Biology (Green Templeton College)
  • Sushma Shankar – Clinical Lecturer, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences

Prizes of £100 will be awarded for each winning entry (by a team or individual) and £50 per runner-up entry. Selected entries will be displayed at a summer exhibition to be held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and winners and runners-up (along with school representatives) will be invited to a private awards presentation to celebrate their success.

The deadline for entries to Beyond Boundaries this year is Friday 28 April 2023. Full details of how to apply can be found on the Oxford Sparks website Beyond Boundaries page, along with the highlighted researcher profiles.

Look out for this year’s winners and runners-up and their artistic creations on the MPLS and Oxford Sparks websites this June/July, along with details of the summer 2023 Beyond Boundaries exhibition in central Oxford.