Posts tagged events

Patterns in Nature Exhibition

Tuesday 26 February 2013 Tagged inAround the world, events, Meet the growers

Turing Sunflower

We are really excited that two of the wonderful images from the Growers' gallery have been selected to feature in Edinburgh Science Festival's Patterns in Nature exhibition which is currently on display in St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh.

We attended the festival launch at the National Museum of Scotland at the end of January and had a look around the wonderful Patterns in Nature exhibition which celebrates 'the glorious beauty, symmetry and complexity of patterns and invites the public to walk through some of nature’s most stunning visual creations and discover the secrets of how and why these patterns are formed'.

Sunflower seedheads

Congratulations to photographers, Chris Foster and John Thurm, whose images are being enjoyed by visitors from around the world. And a huge thank you to the Edinburgh Science Festival team for getting us involved.

Erinma from the Turing's Sunflower team will be heading up to Edinburgh to talk 'crowdsourced science' alongside Galaxy Zoo pioneer, Chris Lintott on Saturday, 6th April 2013 at 17.30 as part of the festival's programme. Browse the programme here. We hope to see a good turn out from any Edinburgh growers!

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Sunflower spirals by John Thurm Sunflowers spirals

Unframed Sunflower Legacy

Wednesday 7 November 2012 Tagged inevents, Meet the growers, Weird & Wonderful

Sunflower installation

We were really excited when Denise Swanson, tweeted her sunflower installation picture. We were naturally curious to know more... Here's her story...

I wanted to participate in the Turing sunflower experiment from the start, but my first attempts were sadly futile. From my second sowing, a sole surviving Russian Giant interested me, as it battled against all odds and finally flowered, magnificently standing tall and proud.

An upcoming print exhibition called ‘Unframed’ at Oxheys Mill Studios in Preston with ArtLab at UCLan provided an opportunity to try something new and to ensure the legacy of my sunflower lived on.

The installation consists of 7 separate fine art prints, each A2 in size, suspended in a clockwise spiral from the rafters, creating an enormous sunflower which gently floats and moves as if in the breeze. Called Ra! the work quietly reflects on the significance of sun worship in every culture.

The installation is on display now as part of:

'Unframed' exhibition at Oxheys Mill Studios in Preston until the 1st December, open Fri/Sat 11-4 with some fabulous work from several other local artists.

Denise Swanson is a fine art photographer/artist with an interest in the natural world and our place within it. Visit: to find out more.

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Keith's picture of L

Glyndon Bloom and Berry Sunflower counting

Friday 14 September 2012 Tagged inevents, Meet the growers

Sunflower spiral

The Glyndon Bloom and Berry Garden are regular counting events every Thursday afternoon. So far they have added 4 sunflowers to the database and will keep going until they have added them all!

The next counting event is this coming Thursday 27th September 2012, 3-6pm at:

The Glyndon Bloom and Berry Garden

Glyndon Community Centre

75 Raglan Road

London SE18 7LB

0208 855-9981

The group will be assessing the sunflowers and counting spirals. There is a room booked in Glyndon community centre for this part of the event so it is weather proof. The room is accessible.

The event is being organised by the management committee of Glyndon Community

Lead person

Meta Killick Vice chair


Here, Rebekah Meta Killick shares her sunflower diary on why they got involved in Turing's Sunflowers.

Let us know about your counting events, download the counting guide and of course, share your sunflower diaries!

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Sunflower spiral

Manchester Pride

Wednesday 5 September 2012 Tagged inevents, Turing related, Weird & Wonderful

sunflower and rainbow flag

We had a fantastic time on August bank holiday weekend watching the Manchester Pride parade in which Alan Turing was fittingly honoured with sunflowers!

The day before the parade, helped by BBC Outreach and the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, we tended to the Turing's Sunflowers that were planted around Sackville Gardens where the statue of Turing resides.

We were a bit disappointed to find quite a few of them trampled but that's always the risk with public planting. We were fortunate to rescue quite a few and realise we should have put planters to support them a lot earlier.

Pride paraders

At the pride parade we were overjoyed to discover four (!!) floats honouring Turing and three honouring him with sunflowers. Plus, sunflowers were being given out to the public and paraders. We met up with Eastland Homes and Age UK who had both created Turing's Sunflowers floats. Lots of hard work had gone into making the floats and costumes, with Age UK participants handcrafting their sunflower bonnets and Eastland Homes covering their float with sunflowers handmade by families across several Manchester housing estates. Congratulations to Eastland Homes for winning best costume.

The University of Manchester float celebrated Turing's contributions to computing and sunflowers - and won best public sector float.

University of Manchester

Everyone got into the pride spirit to show their support and to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people and their contributions to society in the annual extravaganza that took over the city centre.

Turing Sunflower comes to life

As you can see, a MOSI sunflower came out to play at Pride and several Turing's Sunflower growers joined in the fun too.

A huge thank you to the Manchester Pride Team for honouring Turing in such a fantastic way - it was truly memorable to see sunflowers alongside the rainbow flag.

If you want to learn about Manchester's LGBT history, do visit MOSI's community exhibition, Behind the Scene.

To find out more about Turing's Life and Legacy, visit Manchester Museum's Turing Exhibition and of course, come along to the Turing events as part of Manchester Science Festival.

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Erinma's picture of 24 Turing Sunflower comes to life Pride sunflower Sunflower growers Pride

Dig The City

Saturday 28 July 2012 Tagged inCounting, events

Sunflower corner stand

Come and visit us this Saturday and Sunday at inaugural Dig the City where we have an especially grown sunflower corner and stand where we are showing people how to count spirals in everything from pineapples and pine cones. We've had a fantastic week here at the heart of the festival and were even mention in this article. We were visited by Royal Horticultural Society judges who were doing the rounds. There is much to see here, in addition to counting spirals, including a 'living street' and Cathedral full of flowers, and a replica of the Jubilee gardens when the Queen visited. I even hear this weekend there will be some urban pigs on site!

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Chris's picture of home-largest Chris's picture of home-largest

The Fibonacci Sequence permeates through Art and Nature

Saturday 7 July 2012 Tagged inevents, Meet the growers, Turing related

Turing's Sunflower grower, Andrew Glester gives an insight into why he got involved in planting Turing's Sunflowers.

Elbow Rain

My company, Sound of Science, is founded on an equal love of science and the arts. We’ve long since been intrigued by the occurance of the Fibonacci sequence in art, music and nature and when we heard about the Turing Sunflowers project, we simply had to start planting.

It was in 1994, when Manchester City Council took the decision to name a road after Alan Turing, that I first heard of him. That same year I left school and even though computers weren’t the omnipresent force that they are today, Turing’s name should have been on the tip of my tongue.

My schooling took place before the establishment revised its view of Turing and maybe it was this or because my school had a peculiar notion that pupils were either “Arts” or “Science” and I had taken the “Arts” route.

But whatever the reason, on June 23rd, I stood among thousands of music fans dripping beneath the Lovell telescope with the rain lashing down and queues for the Jodrell Bank visitor centre snaking around the grounds, dotted as they are with Turing Sunflowers. As our fellow mancunians Elbow took to the stage on what would have been the great man’s birthday, it was clear that this city is now rightly proud of Turing and that the arbitrary divisions of Arts and Science that once blighted my life are no more.

Roll on Manchester Science Festival in October. I can’t wait for the results of this brilliant project, founded on the work of a brilliant man.

Image copyright: Andrew Glester

Andrew Glester is the Producer/Director of Polar, The Spaceship of Our Imagination and Managing Director of Sound of Science ltd.

Celebrating Turing @ Live from Jodrell Bank

Sunday 1 July 2012 Tagged inevents, Meet the growers, Weird & Wonderful

Shea, Diana and Jen

We were really excited to celebrate Alan Turing's centenary (100 years since he was born) on 23rd June 2012 at Jodrell Bank. We hosted a stand in the Science Arena to celebrate Turing's birthday with the thousands of visitors who'd come from around the UK to watch Elbow and other bands play Live from Jodrell Bank.

Seeds planted at Jodrell

MOSI presenters, Adam and Shea and STEM Ambassador, Diana from The University of Manchester and Erinma (Turing's Sunflowers project manager) to engage the public in growing special dwarf sunflowers and code breaking activities whilst finding out more about Turing's life and legacy. We were visited by quite a few Turing's Sunflower growers including Astronomer, Jen Gupta as well as people who hadn't heard about the project but were excited to plant a Turing Sunflower on Turing's birthday.

Jodrell Sunflowers

We're happy to say that the Jodrell Live sunflowers are doing really well. A huge thank you to everyone who planted a sunflower at the stand and to the organisers at Jodrell for putting on a fab event. The sunflowers will become part of the experiment and once they have grown a bit more, will be planted in a very special place... all to be revealed!

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Jodrell Sunflowers planting at Jodrell Shea, Diana and Jen Shea with visitors to jodrell Adam

Miracle Baby

Wednesday 20 June 2012 Tagged inevents, Meet the growers, Turing related, Weird & Wonderful

London Turing's sunflower grower, Amy's blog post take us frrom the giant baby of the marvellous Manchester Day parade in our a post to another kind of sunflower baby...  

My name is Amy and I am a Turing sunflower grower in London.

I enjoy gardening, have an amateur interest in science and am always keen to get involved in a good project, so naturally I was eager to take part in the Turing's Sunflowers experiment.

I've currently got two crops of sunflowers on the go - about 20 sprouts in a patch of soil outside my kitchen window, and six others in flower beds outside my lounge room window.

Recently, on my way to a preview of the new Alan Turing exhibition at the London Science Museum (more on that on my next blog), I dropped in to the Natural History Museum and came across this item in their gift shop.

Elephant poo in a box

A box of elephant poo and sunflower seed to grow in it.

I know, the optimum planting time for sunflower seeds has now passed (May 31st)... But hey, I'm a believer in the power and beauty of nature, so I thought I'd buy the box and see what nature and I could achieve.

Elephant poo in a box

So as we edge towards the end of June, I plant my little seed - who I shall call Elle - and keep my fingers crossed for a new addition to my sunflower family.

Seed in elephant poo

She is the one I will inevitably refer to as my 'miracle baby' if all goes well.

Amy is another grower on twitter and she contacted us to write a blog post. You can do the same - we'd love to hear your stories. Get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

Giant baby at the Manchester Day Parade

Friday 8 June 2012 Tagged inevents, Weird & Wonderful

Giant Baby and Tsubi and Joel

We were really excited to hear that for the Manchester Day Parade, artists, Spearfish were inspired by the MOSI collection and the Turing's Sunflower project when it came to designing their float. We talked to Tsubi Du, one of the artists who tells us how the inspiration came about...

Graphic of giant baby"The theme for the Manchester Day Parade this year is 'The Sky's the limit... a celebration of heroic achievements' and so we picked Alan Turing - who's known as the father of modern computing - and its the centenary of his birth on 23rd June 2012. We visited MOSI for some inspiration and came across a replica of The Baby, the world's first stored program computer and also found out more about Turing's codebreaking work during the Second World War. Our plan for the parade was to make a float that was giant baby - a replica of the Baby computer but with a giant baby that could wave to passing crowds.

Whilst researching Alan Turing online I came across the Turing's Sunflowers project as we were building it a few streets away. I came down to a planting session and planted a sunflower in the MOSI growboxes and we decided to link the sunflowers theme into our float - so the baby is wearing a sunflower bonnet and everyone in our bit of the parade will be wearing sunflower mohicans. The baby is also holding a weather balloon saying - 'Happy Birthday Alan Turing'. The baby is huge - 5 and half metres by three and a half with the head on.

Turing's float

We've been working with community groups in Longsight to help us with the concept and the costumes, including these sunflower mohicans for the younger ones to wear. Through the Turing's Sunflower project we also linked with the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester who lent us lots of labcoats. Building on the codecracking, we've put QR codes on the back of the labcoats for people to find out more about Alan Turing, including the Turing Year website and the Turing's Sunflowers website too."

The Turing parade float was a fitting Manchester celebration of Alan Turing's centenary - how amazing that maybe 50,000 people or more will have seen it. Huge congratulations to the organisers, Manchester City Council and producers, Walk the Plank. How wonderful that we had such great weather after the gale force winds of late.

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Erinma's picture of 21

Sunday Planting at MOSI

Saturday 26 May 2012 Tagged inAround the world, events, Meet the growers

We were lucky to have great weather for all of our planting events at MOSI, including the staff planting on the 9th of May and the two public planting days on the 13th and 20th May 2012.

At the first public event lots of people came and helped us plant seeds in a growbox. The seeds are just peeping thrugh now. We were lucky that this Manchester group of lads came down after hearing about the event via twitter and facebook as they helped to plant the middle of the growbox which is a bit tricky to reach.

Meet the Growers from our public planting event

The following Sunday MOSI's very own Turing Character joined us out by the grow boxes to give an insight into Turing's life as master codebreaker and how to look for spiral patterns in the sunflower seedheads. We were also helped out by two very enthusiastic STEM ambassadors, Diana (University of Manchester) and Stephen(Cooperative Group) and from MOSI's Visitor Experience team, Louise, who knows her stuff when it comes to gardening. We planted all of the sunflowers grown by the Visitor Experience team and a few that members of the public brought in to plant.

The planting team with MOSI's very own Turing character and master code makers, Rory and Calvin

We were delighted to meet two master code makers, Rory and Calvin (in photo below) who loved hearing about Turing and codebreaking so much that they spent most of the afternoon dreaming up their own codes for us to crack.

Master code makersIf code breaking is something you'd like to try, come along to MOSI's half term Turing Centenary events in June and meet our Turing character too. Here's what Beren, one of the code-maker's mums had to say about the event:

"Thanks so much for the super day out on Sunday at MOSI: our 7 year olds were completely fixated by Alan Turing and the code breaking, they're still creating puzzles for us before and after school! It was a real inspiration and great for us to meet people so passionate about something (lovely website too-we've planted our sunflowers and waiting for them to sprout!)"

The experiment is capturing the interest of all generations - we were bowled over by a lovely lady who visited from Germany who came to plant sunflowers at MOSI and is delivering some seeds to a friend in Manchester before heading back to Germany. When Turing Sunflowers show up on the growers map in Germany - we'll know where they came from - so far there are over ten countries growing sunflowers for the experiment!  Are you on the map yet?

Sunflower seeds - a german perspectiveSunflower seeds - a german perspective

One of our partners, Caroline, from BBC Outreach was on hand to film clips from the planting event as we are hoping to make a film about the project working with BBC staff volunteers. More on that very soon, including how you can get involved in the film...

We've got two final boxes to grow on the railway at MOSI - we'll be planting those up next week with staff who have kindly grown sunflowers. We'll be posting pictures in the sunflower gallery as they grow and we look forward to your photos too. And, don't forget you can come and visit our Turing sunflowers anytime. We've even got some outdoor events lined up, including the Retro Bicycle Picnic in June and the Manchester Mini-Maker Faire in July.

In the meantime - there are only a few days left to plant before the end of May - so... seeds at the ready and plant away, its perfect weather to plant outside.

Here's fifty people who have planted their sunflowers and are sharing their photos and growing tips on twitter. To join the list, tweet @turingsunflower. There are also lots of people sharing their photos and talking about Turing's Sunflowers on facebook

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Erinma's picture of 13 Meet the Growers from our public planting event