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A travelling photography exhibition devoted to science in developing countries opened in Paris, France, on Monday (11 October). The exhibition, entitled 'Sciences au Sud' ('Science in the South') focuses on French research efforts in the global South using images taken by scientists in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

The collection is 'nomadic', and after the Paris exhibition ends on 15 November, the photographs will be exhibited around the world.

A spokesperson for the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), which put the collection together, told SciDev.Net that the organisers hope the photographs will first go to west Africa, although details have yet to be confirmed.

The photographs are displayed in four large tents, each focusing on a different research theme.

The first tent, called 'Feeding ourselves' explores questions such as whether rice will be able to feed half of the planet's population in 2025, how to develop agriculture while preserving tropical forests, and whether farmers are good guardians for biodiversity.

The second tent is called 'Healing' and explores themes such as mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and the cause and effect relationship between malnutrition and poverty.

In the 'Preventing' section, images focus on natural catastrophes, the role of El Niño in climate change and how to coordinate an efficient fight against soil erosion, as well as other questions about preventing the degradation of our natural environment.

Finally, 'Living together' explores questions of South to North migration, the demographic effects of HIV/AIDS, education, and the difficulties of living in cities.

   

Rice plants are grouped before being transplanted, in North-eastern Thailand
Rice plants are grouped before being transplanted, in North-eastern Thailand (Credit: IRD/Jean-Pierre Montoroi)

In Senegal, roaming merchants move between villages selling medicines; this image was taken southwest of the Niakhar study zone
In Senegal, roaming merchants move between villages selling medicines; this image was taken southwest of the Niakhar study zone (Credit: IRD/Arnaud Luce)


Multilingual text describing research efforts corresponding to each theme accompany the images. In regions with high levels of illiteracy, a slideshow will be displayed.

Marie-Lise Sabrié, of IRD, told SciDev.Net that the exhibition was designed for a wide audience in developing nations.

"We want to help reduce the knowledge gap between the North and South to return knowledge to the countries where this research is undertaken," says Sabrié.

The exhibition aims to strike a balance between displaying images that are visually appealing and those focusing exclusively on the hardships of living in developing nations.

"We wanted to show realistic images," says Sabrié. "Ones that are heavy with meaning without being excessively aesthetic or excessively miserable. This middle-ground is difficult to achieve."

   

Testing for malaria in the Ivory Coast
Testing for malaria in the Ivory Coast (Credit: IRD/Laurent Penchenier)

Jean Philippe Chazarin makes topographic measurements on the Caquella glacier in Bolivia
Jean Philippe Chazarin makes topographic measurements on the Caquella glacier in Bolivia (Credit: IRD/Patrick Wagnon)

Local artists participated in the creation of a campaign against HIV/AIDS in the seven largest cities in South Africa; this image was taken in the Bloemfontein township
Local artists participated in the creation of a campaign against HIV/AIDS in the seven largest cities in South Africa; this image was taken in the Bloemfontein township (Credit: IRD/ Elisabeth Deliry Antheaume)

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