Artificial Boundaries

Kristin: James and I attended the Inspiring Australia conference in Melbourne, and Sarah via the livestream. The conference was focused on the national strategy of bringing forth a scientifically engaged Australia. The room was full of scientists, science communicators, policy makers and educators. The first panel posed the question – are people engaged with science?

One view is that people are engaged, especially on areas that matter to them personally, like their local environments and medical research. But others respond to issues of science by feeling it is hard, or that science is most relevant for people who want to pursue careers in science. Most of the people we work with at Bridge8 would appreciate the role of science in a broad context of understanding how ideas work, and how the world works. The panel asked why we put up artificial boundaries around science?

Prof Tanya Monro explained that they had been exploring those boundaries through the A Fine Line – Glass Meets Art Exhibition at the Jam Factory, where the purpose of glass as art or science could be mused upon.

Associate Prof Sue Stocklmayer spoke about using art and theatre to illuminate science, and how music might also be explored. Which reminded me of Jana Levins TED2011 talk on the sound of the universe:

The intersection between science and art is obviously something we’re connected to through my role on the board at ANAT and the Synapse grants. Perhaps we’ve already started to bridge the boundary between science and art, but it’s worth asking what other disciplinary barriers we’ve artificially constructed that might no longer be helpful to having a scientifically engaged Australia.

(Photo Credit: Jennie Groom)

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