By Kyelle Byne and Dr. Thomas Merritt
Communication is vital to science. As scientists, one of our most important roles is explaining what we do and why it’s important. We write about science, we talk about it, we participate in Science Café’s and public talks to share research. However, as long as we continue to use the same language and the same venues for communication, there will always be those that we don’t reach.
This is why SciArt is so important.
SciArt is a merging of science and art, an effort to see scientific concepts through an artistic lens or to see the art and beauty in science and research. SciArt uses a wide variety of artistic media –paintings, photography, sculptures, poetry, dance and everything in between – to communicate scientific ideas in a unique, imaginative way that engages new audiences. Likewise, people who may not traditionally feel connected to science can use their art as a way to explore new ideas and understand scientific concepts.
For the past five years, the LU SciArt Exhibition has featured as part of Laurentian University’s Research Week. This year, we are working with students and researchers across the LU campus, as well as community groups and artists throughout Sudbury, to bring the sixth annual LU SciArt Exhibition to life.
The LU SciArt Exhibition challenges students, artists, and researchers alike to examine their work from new perspectives. Researchers are asked to express their ideas using artistic media, while artists are challenged to use their chosen medium to represent scientific concepts in unique and beautiful ways. In addition, each year local schools create innovative SciArt pieces that assist students to better understand their curriculum, changing the way they see science and research for the rest of their lives.
This year, a goal of the LU SciArt Exhibition is to feature pieces that show the connection between all fields of research and art. In past exhibitions, researchers in traditional science fields such as biology, chemistry, and engineering have been featured, alongside many amazing pieces from researchers in social sciences and humanities. This year, we hope to further highlight research in these fields, and increase engagement with researchers that don’t traditionally feel represented by science.
We are looking for submissions from artists, researchers, and science enthusiasts, using a variety of artistic media (paintings, photography, sculptures, etc.) for the 2019 show. Submissions will be on display at Laurentian University in the Parker Atrium on Wednesday, March 20. Performances are also welcome; the exhibition will feature an hour-long showcase of SciArt song, dance and poetry.
This year, we have the opportunity to award $1,500 in prizes in the following categories: Community Artist, LU Student, LU Staff, Elementary and High School Students, and People’s Choice. The exhibition will be judged by an eclectic mix of artists and researchers, and prizes will be awarded to the most original, creative, and innovative pieces in each category that clearly communicate a scientific concept.
Following the exhibition at Laurentian, the LU SciArt exhibition will be on display at Science North from March 25-April 5. This is an amazing opportunity to showcase SciArt to a wider audience, and allows the work of talented artists and researchers to be seen by thousands of people in our community.
If you would like to submit a piece to the LU SciArt exhibition, or if you have any questions, contact Dr. Thomas Merritt at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, February 20th, 2019.
Kyelle Byne is a graduate student in the Master of Science Communication program at Laurentian University, in partnership with Science North. Dr. Thomas Merritt is a Canada Research Chair in the genomics and bioinformatics in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Laurentian University.