Magnificent Microbes 2024

Published on 14 May 2024

Magnificent Microbes is a long-running public engagement event led by the Division of Molecular Microbiology at the School of Life Sciences.

On this page

Magnificent Microbes began in 2012 as the creation of Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall and has run every two years since – even in lockdown! Dundee Science Centre has been a partner with us throughout the journey, providing space for the event as well as access to a diverse range of school and public audiences. 

This year we wanted to expand our partners to include Verdant Works, who were working with WCAIR to host the Tackling TB exhibition in their main gallery. It seemed like a perfect fit, as tuberculosis is caused by a microbe, and the exhibition was full of interesting and relevant information about Dundee research. Teaming up with Ali Floyd, WCAIR’s Public Engagement Manager, we decided to run a day-long event split between two sites, both showcasing the amazing work our scientists do. With help from Shabnam Wasim, Public Engagement Officer, we gave out over 500 free tickets to community groups and families across Dundee. 

Split into two sessions, morning and afternoon, Magnificent Microbes 2024 ran on Saturday, March 9th. At Dundee Science Centre attendees could speak to our scientists, get hands-on with some fuzzy microbes, and explore the Microbe Zone with our Images of Microbiology Activity Book. At Verdant Works visitors could explore the exhibition, get hands-on with plenty of microbe-themed interactive activities, and get creative with some fun art-science projects.

As with all public engagement events, we learned a lot! Some key points: 

  • It takes time to build strong partnerships, but once you do there are a lot of rewards to be had. Both Dundee Science Centre and Verdant works have been partners for some time, and putting in time establishing good communication and shared goals meant the run-up and the event itself ran smoothly. 
  • Working with the right people makes a huge difference. Shabnam has great connections to groups all across Dundee and did a fantastic job helping us coordinate the tickets and keep in touch with everyone. 
  • Once you develop a resource don’t forget about it! We developed the Images of Microbiology book back in 2021, but it was extremely relevant and useful to bring it back during Magnificent Microbes. This meant we saved time not having to develop things from scratch.