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Looking For Answers With Gramicci: The AW23 Collection Shot At The Observatory & Science Centre

Oct 12, 2023

Let’s talk Gramicci. Established in 1982 by a free-spirited rock-climber Mike Graham, Gramicci strives to produce garments that are built for movement. One of Urban Industry’s favourite brands, they iconically blend the need for flexible outdoor clothing with the comfort and style of influential streetwear.

Shop the full Gramicci collection here.

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Often creating eccentric campaigns, Gramicci uses unusual backdrops that relate to the brand’s roots in climbing. We wanted to mirror this approach as a way of showcasing the Autumn-Winter ‘23 collection. After researching the local area, we found the perfect location, The Observatory and Science Centre at Herstmonceux.

Not only did we capture the latest key items from the brand, but we also experienced an educational day learning about astronomy and the brilliance of modern science. At Urban Industry we like to collaborate and celebrate local businesses and charities, so for this campaign, we conducted an interview with Sandra Voss, Science Director at The Observatory Science Centre. Sandra kindly demonstrated how each piece of equipment is used including a telescope built in 1896, and told us about the project, its impact on teaching astronomy, and why science is so important to everyday learning. 

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An Introduction To Sandra Voss

Sandra has a physiology PhD from the Royal Veterinary College and has worked at the Observatory Science Centre since 2003. After completing her degree, Sandra travelled around the world with her husband where she discovered just how incredible the sky at night can be. Settling back in East Sussex in 2001, they saw an advertisement for a Beginner’s Astronomy Course at the Observatory and before long, they both became volunteers. A position then became available to coordinate National Astronomy Week, and Sandra accepted the job. 

‘You’re bringing science to the community, you’re allowing everybody - not just children, because I don’t think this is just for children, you’re allowing everybody’s imagination to run away with itself. Fast forward to the present day and Sandra is now the Science Director of the Observatory and explains how fantastic this environment is to be a part of.

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Talk us through a day in the life of a Science Director

Never two days are the same. I co-manage The Centre with Jo who is the education and operations director, and we split all the admin and health and safety that’s required for The Centre. Among other day-to-day things I could be helping write show scripts, conducting workshops, looking for funding opportunities or even helping out in the cafe.

It’s interesting when you get asked, ‘What did you do today’ and I always say, well I did loads!

Can you tell us any new projects that you are currently working on?

We are now coming up to the time of year where we are doing a lot of Stargazing evenings. I run two different courses, one of which is the Star Search Course - which is an incredible opportunity to navigate the night sky using constellations as a guide. But this year we have a new course, called Back To Basics Astronomy: A Practical Approach. This is a course for absolute beginners and starts in November, and I will be teaching this course for the first time. I like going back to basics, so you can understand what’s too much information and what’s just the right amount, and that’s why I am excited about this. 

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Is October through to November the best time for stargazing?

Yes. Autumn, Winter and Spring are always the best seasons, because it gets darker earlier. In summer you have shorter nights, and hot days which affects the atmosphere, causing it to dance around and produce what’s called a ‘shimmer’. If you are looking through a telescope when this happens it magnifies not just what you’re looking at but what you are looking through as well. 

Clear, cold nights are the best times to look through a telescope. 

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What’s the best thing you have seen through a telescope?

When I saw a deep sky object called M13, a globular cluster - a few hundred thousand stars all held together by gravity. When I saw it, it was on a crystal clear night, through one of the telescopes we have here, and to me it looked like a dimensional glowing ball of stars, and it just blew me away. 

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