The core of the Imagine Aliens project is its workshops, designed to spark creativity, curiosity, and wonder – and discover exoplanets and astrobiology on the way.
During the workshops, participants create speculative fiction and concept art that imagines alien worlds and life forms. Is there Life beyond Earth? What would you do if you found it? How would you recognize it? How may you communicate with it? Participants explore these questions through storytelling and creative practice based on actual scientific facts. The workshops include short presentations about astrobiology and art by the workshop leader, brainstorming, research, art-making, and presentations of the final projects.
The workshops are organized around a set of specially designed playing cards that function as creative prompts. They provide a “constraint that enables,” which educational researcher Juan Carlos Castro describes as a structure that is recognizable to the participant but also sufficiently open to allow for the emergence of new ideas, creating a space that can orient and enable artistic inquiry.
The playing cards are paired with information pages on the Imagine Aliens website that provide details about exoplanets and the strange and beautiful life that exists on planet Earth (and possibly beyond). A section of the website also offers tips and strategies for storytelling, sketching, painting, foley art, and other creative practices. Further fuel for the imagination is provided in the Inspiration section of the website, which features videos and readings that go into more depth on the subjects of art-making, astronomy, and ecology.
The Imagine Aliens research project is primarily targeted at youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years of age. However, the prompt-based research-creation approach of the workshops can also be scaled to include a younger audience and adults.
The workshops are designed to be presented either in person or in an online format. Depending on the parameters of the participating schools, youth groups, or associations, the Imagine Aliens project can be offered in a short, intensive double-workshop format or be expanded into a multi-week curriculum.
If you are interested in participating in the Imagine Aliens project, please get in touch with Bettina Forget at bettina[at]bettinaforget.com