Here at InterSci, we love bringing different perspectives together. And what could be more different than art and science?
Quite a lot it turns out. These two seemingly polarised cultures have some uncanny similarities. They both require unyielding creativity and curiosity, for example. It is similarities like this, as well as key differences, that make the collision of these two worlds so exciting to explore. So we thought we would.
Last year, we brought artists and scientists together in a workshop co-created by ASCUS Art & Science, an Edinburgh based non-profit organisation dedicated to bridging the gap between art and science. Inside the ASCUS lab, microscopes lined the worktops and conical flasks sat on the shelves; you’d have never guessed that we were actually in an art studio. In our workshop, artists and scientists paired up to collaboratively create pieces of art on postcards based on the scientist’s research and the artists creative medium. It was so successful, we decided to do it all again.
This year, our workshop brought together scientists in cancer biology, microscopy, analytical chemistry, laser technology and astrophysics and artists in printmaking, jewellery making, writing, textile and sculpture.
I participated in the workshop as a member of the InterSci team because I wanted to explore my PhD project from a different angle, having no background in art. The artist I worked with is in Fine Art and is interested in thinking about our place in the universe and how things come into being. Together, we created two postcards based on my research looking at the changes in DNA that cause epilepsy and autism. We decided to create one postcard focussed on epilepsy and the other one autism. We based these postcards on the emotions an individual may feel if they have epilepsy or autism: fear and loneliness respectively. Through this workshop, I learned that art can be very therapeutic and it made me think about my work in interesting ways that I never would have considered. Exploring the boundary between art and science, for me, was a worthwhile thing to do. I would highly recommend this process to other scientists who want to step out of their comfort zone, do something a bit different and see their work from a different perspective.
Curious? Come and see all the postcards we created in a pop-up exhibition as part of the Festival of Creative Learning. We’ll be hosting a panel discussion at the University Main Library on Monday 18th February at 6.30pm. Come along to delve deeper into the art-science intersection. Book your tickets through Eventbrite and come along to see the beautiful finished pieces in the library and speak to some of the artists and scientists who participated. The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception at Teviot which includes a free drink!