Galway Community College

Congratulations from the EU to our students on the recent CÚRAM project


Brain science mosaic unveiled in Galway library

An EU-backed project championing science education in open learning environments has helped an Irish community leave its artistic mark on its local library.

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A new mosaic exploring creativity in connection with how the human brain functions has been unveiled at Ballybane Library in Galway, Ireland. The mosaic was created under a community-based project called ‘Intertwined – Mosaics of the Community Brain’, which is part of the EU-funded project SLEs. Launched in 2023, SLEs is developing engaging open learning environments that foster science education opportunities for all, in formal and informal education settings focusing on inclusiveness. To make this possible, the project is employing the powerful concept of ‘learning ecologies’ – the physical, social and cultural contexts in which learning takes place – as vehicles for forming impactful open schooling models in community settings. The mosaic is the result of a collaboration between CÚRAM – the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices based at SLE project partner University of Galway – and three other partners (Ballybane Library, Galway Community College and artist Alison Mac Cormaic). As reported in a news item posted on the University of Galway website, participants adopted a co-creative approach to make the mosaic, which involved library staff and students learning side by side. The development process included workshops held at Superhuman, CÚRAM's medtech exhibition housed in Galway City Museum, and at the University of Galway’s Centre for Microscopy and Imaging and its School of History and Philosophy. “CÚRAM is delighted to join the Horizon-funded EU project STEAM Learning Ecologies as a national coordinator for Ireland,” notes CÚRAM Scientific Director Abhay Pandit in the news item. “Our public engagement programme, notably our Art and science residency, is vital to our research centre’s commitment to engaging diverse audiences. It is significant for us that this new project - Intertwined - with Ballybane Library, Galway Community College and artist Alison Mac Cormaic is operating on a European scale and working towards creating new science education models.” Intertwined was launched on 14 March 2024 during Brain Awareness Week, which is held between 11 and 17 March to promote public enthusiasm for brain science.

Students and community

Galway Community College Transition Year Coordinator Olive Flynn explains how involvement in the mosaic’s development has benefited the students: “It has encouraged them to become active participants in the local community while rebuilding their relationship with the Ballybane Library and utilising the Makers Space to its full potential. It has afforded the students the opportunity to gain exposure to an environment where the artistic and scientific communities synergise to co-create a mosaic for the entire community to enjoy. The project has allowed the students to improve communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills in a fun and creative way.” The mosaic can be found in the library’s newly refurbished Maker Space and is open to the public to view. Ballybane Library Manager Lisa Martyn remarks: “By collaborating with CÚRAM and the library staff, the Galway Community College students, through the medium of art, under the excellent guidance of Alison Mac Cormaic, are taking ownership of their local library and leaving an eternal footprint in the shape of the resulting artwork, a mosaic to enhance the walls of our Maker Space.” Intertwined is one of the SLEs project’s 13 pilot projects launched across Europe in 2023 and 2024. SLEs (STE(A)M Learning Ecologies) ends in December 2025. For more information, please see: SLEs project website


SLEs, learning ecology, brain science, art, science education, mosaic, open learning environment, library

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