Skip to content

inside science image 5“Inside Science” is a Public Engagement in Science initiative from St. George’s University of London, in collaboration with Wandsworth prison (HMP Wandsworth). The objective is to raise awareness in science and encourage interest and conversation.  

10 years of Inside Science

inside science image 22024 will mark the 10th anniversary of Inside Science. There have been over 100 sessions held in HMP Wandsworth, covering 130 topics and reaching over 300 prisoners. From St. George’s, over 30 members of our staff and student communities have taken part in the programme, mostly for their first experience of public engagement in science.

What do we do?

inside science image 1Since October 2014, staff and students from St. George’s have visited HMP Wandsworth every 6 weeks, to discuss the latest issues in science with groups of prisoners. Topics are chosen that the prisoners are likely to be familiar with, through the media.

Sometimes they are knowledgeable about the subjects, for example through personal experience. In this way, the topics chosen raise lively conversation.  Subjects covered have been in the fields of medicine, the natural world, mathematics and physics and are also often chosen at the request of the prisoners. 

Recent examples are:

  • The Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn
  • Potato – the world’s favourite vegetable
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Technology within the new banknotes and coins
  • Invasive species
  • Three person babies

How the sessions are run?

inside science image 6The sessions are organised by Professor Julian Ma. They last for about 1.5 hours and are held within an art class, organised by the Education team at the prison and run by a professional art teacher. Working within an ongoing art class reduces the formality of each session, allowing the men to continue to draw or paint throughout, if they wish. It also gives them a chance to reflect on the topics discussed and express their thoughts in their artistic output.  

Expressions in art

inside science image 3

From the start, our aim was always to stimulate outputs in the form or artwork. In 2016, we decided to display these in a public art exhibition and an installation about “Inside Science” including 26 works of prisoners’ art was put on public display at St. George’s for one month.

A second public exhibition featuring 35 pieces of prisoners’ original art was placed on display, also at St. George’s in June 2019. The framed artworks are now on permanent display at HMP Wandsworth.

Interested in taking part?

inside science image 4We are always looking for staff and students to take part in Inside Science. No experience necessary! You will be guided through the whole process by Julian Ma, who can also help you design and develop the topic you want to discuss.  In choosing a topic, we just recommend that you select something about which you are passionate.  Please contact Prof Julian Ma for if you are interested.

Our artworks

Find a profileSearch by A-Z