Yesterday I attended the latest Insights and Ideas meeting, jointly run by Creative Scotland and Museums and Galleries Scotland. The topic this month was Art and Science and the meeting explored ways in which artists and scientists can work together to help communicate science to awider audience and to help bring new insights into science.
Jane Magill of the Scottish branch of the British Science Association talked about projects she has been involved in. She has worked with Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, relating science to the artefacts and paintings in the collection. Projects have included exploring how art works are dated and how they can be conserved. She talked about the Cosmic Way Roadshow which celebrated CTR Wilson, the inventor of the cloud chamber, with an exhibition that toured Scotland from Peebles (Wilson's birthplace) to Fort William, where he did his first experiments. Cloud chambers are not only important scientifically, but the trails of the atomic particles are beautiful to look at. She also talked about the music that was composed specifically for the Cosmic Way Roadshow, which wasinspired directly by the physics involved.
Andrew Ormston of the art science collaboration ASCUS spoke next. He briefly mentioned a lot of projects where artists and scientists are collaborating together, including on an international scale. He focussed on one project that really interested me. Thisis the Grow Wild Project (still a pilot project at the minute), which will encourage people across the UK to plant wildflowers in unexpected places. Artists and creative people will be valuable in this project in helping communicate its aims and in choosing some more unusual places for planting the wildflower seeds.The project will work closely with the Kew Millenium Seed Bank to ensure that the flowers planted suit the local ecology and will offer guidelines to participants to understand enough ecology so that they know where is probably a good place for their wild flowers.
After a coffee break, Ninian Perry of the Paragon Ensemble talked about their project Torque. This interdisciplinary music and dance piece devised by dancers,
musicians and scientists uses ideas from renewable energy, inclusive
contemporary dance, and sonic arts to create a stimulating theatrical experience. The Ensemble also take ideas from this production into schools, using music and dance to encourage children to think creatively about science.
Finally, Professor Tom Stevenson of the Museum of Communication in Burntisland, Fife, talked about how their collections offer a very thought provoking insight into how communication has changed and how those changes affect our lives.
All in all a very stimulating and inspiring event!
This post also appears on my website.
As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find out more.