BiohackerOz Collage

BioHacker Oz (North West FM, Melbourne)

Lachlan Wyllie, 14th October 2016

By Juan Guerra

One night, eighteen months ago, I caught a media report on the rise and dissemination of biotechnologies amongst everyday people around the world. The report did not mention Australia at all, and it struck me like a thunderbolt that biotechnologies not only would not only change industry, but that it would change the planet on a very local, personal scale - which meant you and me. 

With some despair, I felt Australians would miss out on this democratisation of science until I literally stumbled over BioQuisitive right here in my own suburb of Brunswick! 

BioQuisitive, Victorias first Community Bio Lab put and held together by citizen scientists (many not scientists at all!) had opened to the public to empower all who walk into this ever growing community.

When I mentioned this electrifying news of Biohacking and Citizen Labs to friends and acquaintances, all I got was blank stares or fearful comments of genetic freaks being produced by unknown institutions. 

I determined to investigate this revolutionary way of doing science in the suburbs and be an open door to my fellow citizens so they could perceive for themselves what this was all about.

To be honest, I too had only a very general understanding of Biohacking and Community-based labs. I believed that by getting to know the community at BioQuisitive, I would not only understand who they were, I would also understand the type of science being done there.

The questions were obvious; would we all benefit, would man-made mutations wipe out all life, and is it really for me, do I need a degree, why should I care? 

My hope is that these questions have in some way been answered in our documentary. and that it sparks old and young listeners to get up and walk through that lab door!

Image (top left) thanks to BioQuisitive.

This piece was made for the CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series 2016, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

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