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“Youth! Art! Science!” – Roche Continents 2015

August became a synonym of interdisciplinary experience for one of Pain Lab members. Natalia took a part in Roche Continents, which was held from 11th till 17th of August in the Mozart’s birth place – city of Salzburg, Austria.

Roche Continents is a partnership between Roche and the Salzburg Festival extending Roche’s long tradition of supporting arts and music. Each year Roche offers 100 students the opportunity to come to Salzburg during the festival and participate in a week-long program of activities exploring the creativity and innovation linked to arts, music and science.

Main theme of the meeting was: “Youth! Art! Science!”. More than 100 students (of 36 nationalities) from the fields of science (biotechnology, physics, chemistry, medicine) and art (composing, conducting, musicology) met to explore differences and similarities between their field. By the end of the week people were surprised how similar they are in the matter of inspiration, creativity and passion for their job.

All students guided by the composer Fritz Hauser made a very unique music performance using nothing more than plastic chopsticks. They use them to scratch all sorts of objects creating surprisingly melodic piece of art. Undoubtedly highlight of the week was an evening picnic in the picturesque scenery of Austrian mountains. Moreover participants had an opportunity to learn how to capture moments and stories in a pictures during workshops leaded by professional Leica photographers. All those activities together with scientific lectures filled the days, but the key part of the conference took place in the evenings, when dressed up students were enjoying performances of Salzburg Festival. Concerts were full of emotions and no one stayed inert to them. The last day with famous musical “The three penny opera“ by Bertolt Brecht, followed by elegant dinner in Kavalierhaus next to Klessheim residence was a true coronation of the week.

The program was just a tool to bind people together and unlock them for new, unexplored possibilities. The most important message of Roche Contintets can be summarized in the sentence of Thomas Dewar: “Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open”.