Meet the researchers | Be Curious 2023

With only a few weeks to go until Be Curious 2023, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the amazing researchers taking part in this year’s eagerly anticipated event.

Dr Robin Hayward and Dr Dorka Tamás are among the many researchers taking part in Be Curious

Meet the researchers | Be Curious 2023. April 2023

Be Curious – the annual showcase of the University’s world-changing research to the wider public – returns from 10am to 4pm on 13 May. 

Each year we turn campus into a hub of free family friendly activities, with the chance to get hands on with the research that happens at Leeds. 

The full Be Curious programme features more than 40 interactive stalls and activities, from marvellous microbes, robots and chocolate trials, to bowels, bugs and even a brain booth!

Spellbinding subject

Just one of the many colleagues shining a spotlight on their fascinating research is Dr Dorka Tamás.

Dorka, a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Library, is hosting a truly magical stall! ‘Who is a Witch? DIY Spell Books from Macbeth to Harry Potter’ covers a range of areas, from ecocriticism to investigating the representation of witchcraft magic in literature and popular culture.

Dorka said: “A lot of people would dismiss looking at witches and witchcraft as ‘silly’ and not ‘serious’ research. However, our literature and culture are filled with these figures, from Harry Potter and Macbeth, to Hallowe’en costumes and even feminism.

“I hope people will take away the idea that the witch or the magician aren’t only part of children’s stories – they’re part of the historical witch-hunt, our culture and politics. Looking at what makes a witch or wizard can tell us a lot about our society and gender roles.”

The University’s Public Engagement Officer, Celine Roblin-Robson, said: “Dorka’s stall is a great example of how far research stretches across the University. 

“It’s also such an interesting topic and one I know that children are going to love. And that’s really what we look for in Be Curious – research that can be communicated to all ages.”

See Dorka’s blog for further insights into her research.

Tree-mendous topic

Another researcher, forest ecologist Dr Robin Hayward, will use Be Curious to showcase how trees grow, with some amazing hands-on activities.

Robin, who works at the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) centre based at the University, said: “We want to share our excitement about trees, as well as some information about how different types can grow.

“Studying the value of trees helps us to protect them, as well as to work out the best ways of planting new forests for the environment.”

Alongside the self-guided Campus Tree Trail, LEAF recently joined forces with the United Bank of Carbon and the White Rose Forest to plant 66,000 saplings in Leeds to create our new research woodland, Gair Wood.

Celine said: “We’re so excited to welcome Robin to Be Curious. We hope all budding ecologists, tree lovers and future climate change champions will be inspired by her stall.”

Speaking about the full programme, Celine added: “We’re so excited for this year’s Be Curious. This really is a showcase of all the amazing and life-changing research that happens right here at the University. 

“What I like most about Be Curious is that we break down the barriers on developing ideas. Research can often feel like it’s not for everyone, but Be Curious really gives people the chance to explore and think in a different way. And that’s thanks to our amazing researchers, who strive to make sure their work is accessible for anyone who’s interested.”

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