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Celebrating knowledge at Angliss

Did you know that 99% of the world's biodiversity is invisible to the human eye?

As part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, William Angliss Institute partnered with Scale Free Network , an art-science collective and micro-publisher, to present 'Microscopic Metropolis: the Dirt on Food.' This engaging and participatory workshop explored the mysterious and richly biodiverse universe of soil, on which the world's food systems depend.

Workshop organiser Dr Kelly Donati, who lectures in the Bachelor of Food Studies and Master of Food Systems at William Angliss Institute, said: 'It's so important to the planet's future that we learn to feed soil communities better. Our health depends on it. One of the reasons we teach fermentation here at William Angliss Institute is so that students can learn new ways of understanding the importance of microbial life to our existence on earth."

Visual ecologist and storyteller Aviva Reed, conceptual artist Briony Barr and microbiologist and science educator Dr Gregory Crocetti combined art and science to help participants explore the vast world of tiny creatures that inhabit soil. A performance by Aviva Reed used poetry to explore what humanity shares in common with soil, the skin of the earth. Participants then created a collaborative drawing of the soil world at different scales—from bacteria to earthworms—and looked at cheese mites, decaying strawberries and worm castings under the microscope.

Dr Crocetti feels it is a privilege to share his knowledge about our microbial allies: "We loved using creative and embodied experiences to take participants along a journey to make the invisible visible. They will probably never look at 'dirt' (or cheese, or their own heels) the same way again...!"