Honorary Fellowship presented to materials engineer, Zoe Laughlin
Rt Hon. Elfyn Llwyd (Pro-Chancellor, Aberystwyth University), Dr Zoe Laughlin, Professor Colin McInnes (Pro Vice-Chancellor - Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation)
12 July 2022
Dr Zoe Laughlin, a designer, maker and materials engineer who explores the art and science of ‘stuff’ has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Aberystwyth University.
Dr Laughlin is the co-founder and director of the Institute of Making, an interdisciplinary research space at University College London that is part workshop, part lab, part studio and part theatre for materiality.
She gained a BA from the University of Wales Aberystwyth, an MA from Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design and obtained a PhD in Materials within the Division of Engineering, King's College London.
Working at the interface of the science, art, craft and design of materials, her work ranges from formal experiments with matter, to large-scale performative public exhibitions and events with partners including Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery, the V&A and the Wellcome Collection.
Her work has also been shown at The Science Museum and is included in the permeant collection of The Design Museum.
She can often be found making programmes for both radio and television on the subject of materials and making. She hosts regular science demo slots on ITV’s flagship show, This Morning, and is the resident materials expert on BBC Radio 4’s weekly food panel show, The Kitchen Cabinet.
Dr Zoe Laughlin was presented as Honorary Fellow by Professor Simon Banham, Head of Department of Theatre, Film & Television Studies on Tuesday 12 July 2022.
The full conferral presentation is available below, in the language in which it was delivered.
Presentation of Zoe Laughlin by Professor Simon Banham:
Dirprwy Ganghellor, Dirprwy Is-Ganghellor, darpar raddedigion, gyfeillion. Pleser o’r mwyaf yw cyflwyno Zoe Laughlin yn gymrawd Prifysgol Aberystwyth.
Pro Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, prospective graduates, and supporters. It is an honour and a privilege to present Zoe Laughlin as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.
Zoe gained her BA with TFTS here in Aberystwyth, an MA from Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design and obtained a PhD in Materials within the Division of Engineering, King's College London.
Zoe is the co-founder and director of the intriguingly named ‘Institute of Making’ at University College London. Conducting interdisciplinary research as part workshop, part lab, part studio and part theatre for materiality, the institute epitomises a holistic approach and diversity of activity highly apposite to 21st Century education ideals yet also summons visions of medieval alchemy laboratories with their quest for the Philosopher’s Stone and the elixir of life. Indeed, given the farsightedness of Zoe’s curiosity, vision and output, it would not be surprising if these too were in her sights.
Situated at the interface of the science, art, craft and design of materials, Zoe’s work ranges from formal experiments with matter to large-scale performative public exhibitions and events, with partners such as Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery, the V&A and the Wellcome Collection. Her work has also been shown at The Science Museum and is included in the permanent collection of The Design Museum.
She can often be found making programmes for both radio and television on the subject of materials and making. You may already know her from her regular science demonstration slots on ITV’s flagship show, This Morning, or her appearances on BBC Radio 4’s weekly food panel show, The Kitchen Cabinet, where she is the resident materials expert.
Even from this brief introduction, it is clear that Zoe has a wonderful thirst for knowledge, pursuing an eclectic series of enquiries that conjoin science and art in original and surprising ways. Underpinned by academic rigour, creative playfulness and the honesty of craft, these provide fundamental and fascinating considerations of the materials that shape the world we inhabit.
I had the pleasure of teaching Zoe many years ago. What distinguished her then was a curiosity and enthusiasm that took her beyond any set assessment tasks and which often challenged the parameters of those tasks. For those of you who have been lucky to hear her speak it is clear that this curiosity is undiminished and like the best experiments in art and science, each discovery provokes even more questions.
Zoe has that rare ability to take complex notions and present them in a way that is not only clear and accessible but also highly engaging and compels you to go and look for yourself. She helps us look at the world differently. I can think of no higher accolade.
Dirprwy Ganghellor, mae’n bleser gen i gyflwyno Zoe Laughlin i chi yn Gymrawd.
Pro Chancellor, it is my absolute pleasure to present Zoe Laughlin to you as a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.
Dr Zoe Laughlin
Aberystwyth University Honours 2022
During Graduation 2022, the University will present ten Honorary Fellowships to individuals who have or have had a connection with Aberystwyth or Wales, and who have made an outstanding contribution to their chosen field.
This year’s Fellows include leading figures from the arts, broadcasting, law, agriculture, and the science and technology sectors.
The 2022 Honorary Fellows are (in order of presentation):
- Professor Dame Elan Closs Stephens DBE, Electoral Commissioner for Wales and Non-Executive Director of the BBC Board and its member for Wales
- Myrddin ap Dafydd, author, publisher and Archdruid of Wales
- The Hon Justice Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, Court of Appeal Judge, Malaysia
- Harry Venning, award winning cartoonist, illustrator and comedy writer
- Dr Zoe Laughlin, co-founder and director of the Institute of Making
- Rhuanedd Richards, BBC Wales' National Director
- Jonathan Whelan, IT consultant, author and Fellow of the British Computer Society
- Tom Jones OBE, agriculturalist and founding Chair of the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust
- His Honour Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, former Senior Circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court, “the Old Bailey”
- Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, former Director and Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council