Written by Dr. Christina Coakley (University Teacher, School of GeoSciences)
February 16th 2015 marked the start of Innovative Learning Week for The University of Edinburgh and as a relatively new member of the teaching staff in the School of Geosciences I fancied getting involved! I have always found art and photography a valuable tool for scientists to communicate their work to a wider audience but this tool isn’t used often enough. I decided it would be great fun to run an Art/Science exhibition and get staff and students to submit art and photographs on a GeoScience theme, which we would put up in the Crew Building (King’s Buildings). The art exhibition was called “Words and Images” and the idea was to provide an image and title which provided the viewer with enough information to engage them in the topic.
I received art work and photographs from undergraduate students, PhD students and staff within the School of Geosciences. With the help of Gillian McCay (Assistant Curator of the Cockburn Museum) we set to work framing and hanging art work, this was a big job as we had 23 pieces to frame. After a very long day we had hung all the images and already started to get some good feedback. Throughout the week, people in Crew Building got to enjoy all the art in the stairwell of their building and it started to do what we hoped it would, people began to discuss the topics associated with the images we had up!
On the Friday of ILW we had a drinks reception for staff and students to come along and enjoy the art over a drink and discuss the pieces with the people who produced them. We also had two guests, Jennie Speirs Grant (Artist in residence at the ECCI) and Clare Button (project archivist on the “Towards Dolly” project) who discussed their opinions on art and science. We also had prize winners, Pippa Stone’s piece “Location, location, translocation” was voted favourite piece, and joint second went to Vinita Ganesh for her piece “Vesuvius” and Elizabeth Butler for “Conservation for sport”. It was a great event and I have to thank all those who attended and have given us feedback regarding the work. The art is still up in Crew so come down and get inspired!