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DYVERSE: a free, collective, evolving mural in my office in the School of Computer Science in Manchester





It is an unfinished mural, and everyone is invited to contribute to it


Scientists and artists are alike in that both attempt to understand the world better -the one according to an established methodology and the other according to a personal vision. The successful ones raise consciousness and question the existing order. At best, both scientists and artists manage to make the world a better place. This is what I am trying to do. At root there is an ethical dimension to my strong commitment to equity, diversity and social awareness in science and education. I speak up for disadvantaged students and hard-pressed colleagues. I am happiest with a class of students from diverse backgrounds, and strive to reach people with less access to information for reasons of age, education, income or origin.

The whiteboard, the classroom and working with colleagues are evolving, collaborative works of art that, by their nature, can never be finished. The whiteboard just behind the desk in my office is covered by a mural of an oceanic scene: a freediver (myself) is plunging deep into the Mediterranean. Along with the expected marine life are a Dalek, disembodied dinosaur heads, a ballerina and some lines of poetry. Its title is DYVERSE. Everybody who enters my office is invited to contribute to DYVERSE. It is an invitation and an open window, and always succeeds in breaking down inhibition with my collaborators (I think of my students as collaborators). They have an unexpected opportunity for self-expression, which they usually take joyfully.