splice symposium

The splice symposium, which took place on the 15th and 16th November, celebrated and debated encounters between performance, music, science and medicine.  We celebrated by giving the floor to the creators of art and research projects involving at least two of these disciplines. Presenters included: * Nicola Triscott, Director of the Arts Catalyst – one of the UK’s most innovative supported of science-art collaborations.  *Gilles Joubin, the renown choreographer who has just completed a residency at CERN; *Alex Kelly from Third Angel who performed the company’s latest show 600 People – its first showing to Dr Simon Goodwin, the astrophysicist who inspired it *

One of the many debates touched on that inevitable question, of what’s in it for the scientists? Dr David Berman (Reader in Physics) claimed that collaborating with artists may be valuable to scientists, but not in progressing scientific research.  At least a couple of the presentations contested this point: Microbiologist Dr Simon Park’s shared projects with artists on bioluminescent bacteria had produced peer reviewed journals; Prof Tony Myatt showed how shared research between sound artists and oceanographers aboard the MS Dardanella had led to new discoveries about whale and fish communities. Several of projects presented had a clear social value: Prof Nicola Shaughnessy’s Imagining Autism uses participatory theatre to make marked improvements in imagination, communication and empathy in children with a diagnosis of autism; Dr Brian Lobel’s Fun with Cancer Patients, a series of actions by teenagers with cancer, developed new understandings for medical practitioners as well as patients; Suzy Willson’s Performing Medicine had a clear benefit for medical students.  That said, participants also resisted this ‘instrumental’ basis of evaluating science-art collaboration: do we need to justify these collaborations in terms of their research or ‘impact’ value?

We’ll be posting podcasts and documents of the Symposium soon.


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