In 2016, the British Science Association created a new Section: Science and the Arts. 

Science and art have a rich pedigree of collaborations, revealing the complexities of life to new audiences. They capture imagination, translating forms and concepts into visually powerful artworks and illustrations. Over the past 25 years, the digital revolution has developed programmes and platforms common to both cultures.

There is an increasing awareness of the value of interdisciplinary research. In recognition of this evolving opportunity, the new Science and the Arts Section was created with the aim of encouraging dialogue and supporting new initiatives.

President 2017: Dr Nicola Triscott, Arts Catalyst 

Nicola Triscott is a cultural producer, curator, writer and researcher, specializing in the intersections between art, science, technology and society. She has over 25 years’ experience as an arts professional and social entrepreneur.

Nicola is the founder and Artistic Director/CEO of Arts Catalyst, and Principal Research Fellow in Interdisciplinary Art and Science at the University of Westminster.

President 2016: Professor Rob Kesseler, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London 

Rob Kesseler is a visual artist and Professor of Arts, Design & Science. Formerly NESTA Fellow at Kew and Research Fellow at the Gulbenkian Science Institute, Portugal, since 2000 he has collaborated with botanical scientists and molecular biologists in an exploration of the living world at a microscopic level. Reflecting the way in which the natural world migrates into many aspects of our daily lives, his images are translated into a wide range of contexts and media, ceramics, glass and textiles, video, and photography. 

Heather Barnett - recorder

Heather Barnett is an artist, researcher and educator working with natural phenomena, complex systems and biological design, often in collaboration with scientists, artists, participants and organisms. Using diverse media including printmaking, photography, animation, video, installation and participatory experimentation, and working with living materials and imaging technologies, her work explores how we observe, represent and understand the world around us.

Sarah Craske – co-recorder

Sarah Craske is an award winning British artist, working at the intersection of Art, Science and Technology. She is specifically interested in exploring how the concept of practice, ethics and language, space and technologies, materials and methods, knowledge and data, transform through transdisciplinary working and is developing her own transdiscipline in collaboration with Charlotte Sleigh – Biological Hermeneutics.

The Science and the Arts Section organised the following events for the 2017 British Science Festival:

Art and science collaboration: an ecology of practices
Together, art and science allow us to sense and create meaning from our surroundings. Director of the Arts Catalyst, Nicola Triscott explored the idea of both as components of an “ecology of practices” which encourage investigation of critical world issues beyond the gallery and laboratory. How can this approach improve our interpretation of reality?

Trust me, I'm an artist: displaying resistance
Attendees explored the ethical issues that arise when art meets science and examined the consequences of artistic projects that nudge up against the newly possible. Debated questions included can and should artist Anna Dumitriu exhibit fragments of DNA that cause antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases, what are the risks associated and who should be accountable?

The section will build on the experience of members of the London LASER and LENS groups based at the University of the Arts London.