Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, ARMI instigated its COVID-safe workplace plan to enable our critical regenerative medicine research to continue. However, this has meant a reduced number of scientists allowed onsite and moving many of our seminars and events online. This has been important in ensuring the health and safety of our staff and students. However, we have missed meeting together as an institute.
The solution? A half-day event aimed at providing some much needed time to focus on our collective health and wellbeing during this pandemic. The ARMI Leadership team, led by Associate Professor Eddy McGlinn, had noted that the fabulous achievements maintained while coping with the stresses of the pandemic. These included continuity of research projects, a camaraderie between colleagues, outstanding publications, grants and student milestone successes; all to be celebrated with some “R&R.”
“A huge part in making ARMI such a great place is the atmosphere, the connections and the spontaneous conversation that occurs whether in the lab or in the tearoom. We felt the need to try to recreate this, safely, and to reconnect with each other,” said Eddy.
Putting down our pipettes, we began with some physical training with ARMI group leaders Dr Jan Kaslin and Dr Jennifer Zenker (our resident triathlete!). We were put through our paces with a combination of strengthening poses and planks. Feeling all warm and limber, we tackled the fine art of origami led by Dr Sam Keenan with demonstrations on how to fold a box, a crane and a jumping frog. Some of us fared better than others, but we all were impressed by the dragon Sam had made previously.
Then we had a musical interlude, with Professor Graham Lieschke filling the airwaves with some Baroque music – two pieces by J.S. Bach played on the harpsichord. We ended the event with a cook’s corner hosted by former Masterchef contestant Dr Jan Manent who took us through the process of baking mini fallen-chocolate cakes.
It was a fantastic event that offered everybody at ARMI the opportunity to relax and refresh. As it was such a success, there are plans for a second event! Thank you to Eddy McGlinn and the ARMI Leadership for organising this special morning.