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Two women engineers from the University of Birmingham's Schools of Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials have won prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious awards for their public engagement collaborations with creatives.

Dr Naomi Green, biomedical engineer and AMTECAA technical officer, has won Ingenious funding for the second time to run the “Daughters of Invention” project with local Birmingham theatre-in-education company The Play House.

The project will bring together drama practitioners from The Play House and eight PhD and MEng Engineering students from the University of Birmingham's School of Engineering. They will develop a series of 12 immersive drama and engineering workshops, which will be delivered to 240 Year 5 children from four inner-city primary schools.

Working with girls and children in Birmingham from under-represented backgrounds in engineering, the project will raise children's aspirations, as well as increasing their confidence to participate in higher education.

Children in classroom

Dr Leah-Nani Alconcel, spacecraft engineering and Aerospace Engineering course lecturer, together with artist-photographer Melanie King and Dr Chris Hamlett of the Discover Materials network are designing workshops for Key Stage 4 students and teachers from diverse communities in the West Midlands. They will use household items and materials from their local environment will explore sustainability in engineering through photographic print-making.

The project will provide an engineering challenge to be solved using sustainable best practice. The engineer-artist team will show participants how to create photographic prints, using materials engineering skills to build cameras and to create their own developers and emulsions. Students and teachers will develop the capacity to see everyday items as engineering tools. Throughout the workshops, the team will actively encourage participants to consider all their activities, both in and outside the project, in the context of sustainable practice and engineering.

To get involved with the Daughters of Invention project, please email The Play House:

To learn more about or get involved with the Engineering Sustainable Photographic Processes project, please email Discover Materials:

Both projects started in May 2021 and will run through 2022.