There is an increased awareness of the value of interdisciplinary inquiry, of bringing together different ways of observing, experiencing and understanding the world around us. The points of intersection between science and art provide rich ground for collaborative working, questioning paradigms and engaging new audiences. Interdisciplinary practices can capture the imagination, translating forms and concepts into visually powerful artworks and encounters.

There has been a marked increase in art and science practices over the past 25 years. In recognition of this, the Science and the Arts Section was created with the aim of encouraging dialogue and supporting new initiatives.

President 2022: Bhavani Esapathi, The Invisible Labs

Bhavani Esapathi is a maker, creator, and writer. Her goal is to find social-tech solutions for those on the margins of our society. As a disabled woman from an ethnically minoritised background, many of Bhavani's projects have begun through her, and her wider community's, lived experiences. Over the years, she has mentored artists and start-ups in the creative industry and has undertaken research-based projects on creative start-ups and health data, sharing her knowledge through conferences and festivals. Recurring themes in her work include invisible disabilities, autoimmune diseases, patient-led healthcare, immigrants’ access to healthcare, and digital solutions for social problems. She is proud to be in the RSA’s Fellowship Council for London while also building on The Invisible Labs platform for chronically disabled individuals like herself.

President 2021: Dr Katy Barrett (Deputy Curator of Art and Head of Interpretation, Houses of Parliament)

Dr Katy Barrett [] is Deputy Curator of Art and Head of Interpretation at the Houses of Parliament. She was previously Curator of Art Collections at the Science Museum, London, Curator of Art, pre-1800, at Royal Museums Greenwich, and has held various posts at the Whipple Museum for the History of Science in Cambridge, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the National Gallery, London. She has higher degrees in History of Art and History of Science, and is active on social media as @SpoonsonTrays.

President 2019: Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt)

Semiconductor is UK artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. They make visually and intellectually engaging artworks which explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lens of science and technology, questioning how these devices mediate our experiences. Their unique approach has won them many awards and prestigious fellowships including; Samsung Art + Prize 2012 for new media, Smithsonian Artists Research Fellowship and a NASA Space Sciences Fellowship.

In 2015, they participated in a research residency at CERN. They were the first to have received permission to work directly with raw data generated by the experiment, and produced the large-scale immersive installation HALO. For the 2019 Festival, they shared their ideas and unusual experiences at the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

President 2018: Anna Dumitriu, University of Hertfordshire, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and Waag Society

Anna Dumitriu is a British artist who is passionate about art and science collaboration, participatory public engagement in science through art, and the role of art to help us consider the cultural, ethical and societal implications of new technologies. She works with sculpture, installation and biological media to explore our relationship to infectious diseases, synthetic biology and robotics. 

Dumitriu works deeply embedded in science settings and holds visiting research fellowships at the University of Hertfordshire, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and Waag Society. She is artist-in-residence with the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project at the University of Oxford, and with the National Culture Type Collection at Public Health England.  She has worked with the EU MRG-Grammar project to create artwork using CRISPR gene editing and recently with BeyondSeq at the University of Birmingham to explore the biochemistry of DNA.

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. He exhibits internationally and has published an award winning series of books on Pollen, Seeds and Fruit. In 2010 a monograph of his work, Rob Kesseler Up Close, was published by Papadakis.

Recorder: Anna Dumitriu

Past Co-Recorder: Bentley Crudgington 

Past Co-Recorder: Heather Barnett

Past Co-Recorder: Sarah Craske