INSIGHT AND EXCHANGE: An evaluation of the Wellcome Trust’s Sciart programme was recently released.
It is an important and useful document because there are not many studies on the value of art/science collaboration. Usually there is an intuition that they are positive, often more positive for the artist than the scientist. (Although you can see some of the anecdotal evidence I have been collecting to show the value to scientists here.)
Sciart was launched to fund “visual arts projects which involved an artist and a scientist in collaboration to research, develop, and produce work which explored contemporary biological and medical science.”
Some of the overall benefits of Sciart recognized in the report of the first decade are:
• Attracting media coverage
• Considerable educational benefit for the public
• The emergence of new processes of working
• Removing barriers to cross-disciplinary collaboration
Specific benefits artists provided scientists, included:
• Preparing some scientists to take more risks
• Improving scientist’s own communication
• Generating more reflexive awareness of the wider context of the scientist’s work
• Assisting scientists in rediscovering their personal creativity
There are other recommendations for organizations that would want to get involved in funding these kinds of collaboration. iLAND has already implemented many of these recommendations unintentionally and we could look at some of the others, especially on reporting. There is still time to apply for an iLAB residency from iLAND. If you are a dancer, movement artist, or scientist, please check out the iLAND website.