Earlier this month we were delighted to deliver the innovative ‘Stich ‘n Stem’ embroidery workshop to the Royal Society as part of their ‘Summer Science Exhibition 2022’ in collaboration with our colleagues at the Centre for Gene Therapies and Regenerative Medicine (CGTRM).

‘Stich ‘n Stem’ is a fun, interactive workshop allowing participants to learn about stem cell research and future therapies whilst embroidering templates of real cell images taken as part of research studies. The team welcomed over 150 participants throughout the afternoon, who eagerly discussed the fascinating world of stem cell research over needlecraft.

Lazaros Fotopoulos, Director of our National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre’s (BRC) supported Stem Cell Hotel at King’s College London said: “It was so much fun speaking to visitors about stem cells and neurons while they were getting loop, needle, and thread ready for embroidery of their favourite stem cell images. Due to the relaxed and informal nature of these sessions, ‘Stich and Stem’ is proving to be a great way of sharing the work of stem cell research with a much broader audience.”

Since its launch in 2018 ‘Stitch ‘n Stem’ has been delivered in a wide variety of settings. These include community projects with young people’s outreach services, through to large-scale public events such as the Guy’s Cancer Centre ’Cancer Survivors day’ in 2018. ‘Stitch ‘n Stem’ has also been adapted as an online event, which has been especially beneficial in continuing its engagement work during the pandemic.

The Summer Science festival is the Royal Society’s flagship public engagement event. It is the oldest science festival in the UK and has been taking place for over 30 years. The festival hosts up to 500 scientists and researchers from across the UK who use this opportunity to share their work with visitors through lectures and/or interactive workshops. This year’s event attracted over 16,000 visitors throughout the weekend, and we were thrilled to welcome many to the ‘Stitch ‘n Stem’ workshop.

CGTRM PhD student Vic Tsang said: “It was amazing to speak with so many people from a broad age range while enjoying making beautiful embroidery images of stem cells. Talking with the public about our research allows us to shine a light on the current applications of stem cells in medical research and hopefully inspire the new generation of scientists.”

For further information about ‘Stich ‘n Stem’ workshops, please contact Jessica.sells@gstt.nhs.uk