Interdisciplinary Postcards!

I recently had the pleasure of actually seeing some of my work display (though not particularly great work). The Main Library at University of Edinburgh has a display up from something I did about art and science.

The postcards were created as part of a collaborative workshop. hosted by InterSci, a University a student society at Edinburgh University whose aim is to encourage conversation and collaboration between scientists of different, and ASCUS, a non-profit organisation committed to bridging the gap between art, design and the sciences.

The workshop brought ten scientists and ten artists (including me) into pairs to each create a piece of art on a postcard. The workshop, which is in its second year, is titled Art & Science on a Postcard, and was a networking and hands-on workshop for artists and scientists to exchange knowledge and ideas and to get creative with science. The workshop took place at the ASCUS Lab in Summerhall, the UK’s largest publicly accessible laboratory for experimentation in art & science. The ASCUS lab holds open-access sessions, as well as workshops. This is the second year of the Art and Science on a Postcard workshop.

An important element of the workshop is that it was not meant to be about the artists creating illustrative artworks for the scientists. You’ll see in the image of mine below that there are two. One for the artist. One for the scientist. The event was more about the discourse between the scientist and artist surrounding the ways in which we can use art to visualise and express abstract concepts in the sciences. Though teams worked in pairs, we each created our own individual postcard. Further, we were each constrained to only one post card sized piece of work, a strategy designed to encourage exploration and experimentation on a small scale, as opposed to the overwhelming task of creating a full-scale piece of art in a few short hours.

Honestly, I’m not particularly happy with mine as a piece of work. I sort of wish I had more time and a digital medium to redo it. But part of the nature of the workshop was to NOT focus so much on creating a perfect and polished piece. The scientist I worked with was a plant biologist studying circadian patterns in algal cells. So we drew the cells with two color schemes and attempted to demonstrate its change in patterns with a series of cell drawings.

Postcards with drawings of algal cells on them done in yellow, green, red and blue
My postcard is on top. I’m curious if this would be any good as a digital illustration.

After the debut of the display, InterSci hosted a panel discussion with two artists (including me!) and two scientists who had worked on the project. In the discussion, the we talked about the deep parallels between science and art as enquiry-based processes and described their own challenges in creating work at this intersection with their partner. The discussion then opened to the audience, leading into a conversation about barriers to art and science individually, as well as barriers to collaboration between artists and scientists. Though the discussion came to no clear-cut conclusions about these issues, it allowed participants in the original workshop and audience members of the discussion to use the work on display as a springboard into a larger dialogue. It was a good time. I’m glad I went.

And now my work will be on display for the rest of week! If only my proper work got such attention.

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