1003   Roundtable discussion

Art, humanities and science: lessons in transformation

In 1959 C.P. Snow shed light on the divide between the sciences and humanities. This segmentation is crumbling as concepts like SciArt, BioArt and other trans- and inter-disciplinary approaches have spread around the world bringing scientists and artists together to create groundbreaking research, innovative engagement formats, and attracting new audiences to public engagement activities. This has been coupled with a rise in citizen science and participatory action research. There is solid evidence backing both the benefits and pitfalls of integrating arts and science to engage various stakeholders and parts of society. However, there are a limited number of researchers and practitioners that work with artists. This discussion panel will give examples and deliberate how scientists, artists and citizens have worked together highlighting the barriers that exist on the path to both the research and implementation of initiatives at the points of intersection of the arts, humanities and science.

The structure of the session will be four short introductions followed by a 50-minute discussion panel. The introductions will be based around case studies, literature reviews and impact evaluation studies. The speakers will cover the intersections between: science and community arts, science and arts festivals (theatre and art installations), science and opera, science and illustration, science and performance arts, impact of cross-sectional projects and citizen science. The talks will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the complex relationship between citizens, research and the arts. We propose holding the panel discussion in the form of a ‘fishbowl’ to facilitate participation from the attendees. To encourage further participatory discourse participants will be asked to write down any provocative thoughts and ideas they have during the introductory talks to then be brought in during the discussion. A reflection on the key points will be performed five minutes before the session closes.

Author: Simone Cutajar
, Malta

Simone Cutajar is the director of a Green House (a malta based civil society organisation) and EsploraNatura (a newly established Natural History Museum in Malta). Through these entities, she works closely with local communities with the aim of both producing reliable scientific outputs, communicating research to different publics and engaging both scientists and artists in the production of community art pieces based on research. During the session she will bring in case studies from participatory research projects, and will reflect on how to find a balance between engagement and scientific outputs, how the broader impact of participatory research and community art projects have the ability to connect research with communities, and the long-term sustainability of such projects.

Speaker: Helen Towrie
Central Laser Facility, Science and Technology Facilities Council, United Kingdom

Helen Towrie is both an artist and an impact and engagement officer with the STFC in the UK. She feels that a science career, or just a familiarity with science, can be seen as a daunting and difficult task to some. Science is seen as only for some, but on the other hand illustration is seen as for everyone. From children’s books, to adverts, to corporate annual reports – illustration is used for every audience, and therefore every audience can identify with it. Using her background in Illustration, Helen aims to utilise this to knit together science and art in a way that makes science more welcoming and inclusive.

Speaker: Francesca Scianitti
INFN, Istituto Nazionale Di Fisica Nucleare (Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics), Italy

Francesca Scianitti is Senior Public Engagement Officer at the Communication Division of the INFN. Her activity focuses on involving a wide variety of audiences with Particle Physics, Cosmology and Technology Transfer. During the session she will present case studies of innovative formats for public events, in which performing arts are intertwined with scientific narratives, in order to increase the audience involvement and awareness in the research and innovation process lead by INFN and the scientific community. If consciously integrated into the narrative, artistic performances can be an unconventional voice in the narration of science, involving artists, scientists and the public in the construction of a common narrative of ideas and, ultimately, of new cultures. Critical aspects of the conference-show formats will also be presented in order to open a discussion on how they can be evaluated and aligned to societal needs and exp

Speaker: Aaron Jensen
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Aaron M. Jensen is a Research Fellow in Science Education at the School of Education in Trinity College Dublin and Science Gallery Dublin, working on science communication-based projects including the SpaceEU (space-eu.org) and QUEST (questproject.eu). Jensen is experienced in impact evaluation of arts-based approaches to science communication and public engagement with the arts, including engagement rooted in exhibitions and performance art. He brings this evaluative perspective to the roundtable topic. During this session, Aaron will discuss the need to know specific benefits or limitations that arts and humanities-based approaches to science communication offer. Particular arts-based engagement approaches, techniques and procedures will enable different outcomes under the right circumstances. The details of what works and why need to be identified and used to inform future approaches to ensure the best possible impact.

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