Lucy Smith

Making the Conceptual Tangible: The Role of Art in the Understanding and Communication of Science.

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This research considers the role of art in finding new pathways towards accessing science, particularly those abstract concepts usually only accessible to people with an advanced algebraic vocabulary. 

 Research questions posed are:  

  • Can art be effective and transformative in making abstract or conceptual knowledge more accessible? 
  • How might art maximise observation, questioning, critical thinking and learning? 
  • How effective might kinetic sculpture, performance and sound art be in capturing interest and communicating science? 

To address these questions Lucy makes sculpture that visibly and audibly expresses and transforms particular abstract phenomena from physics to become more tangible. Lucy hypothesises that access to challenging concepts can be eased by harnessing the breadth of language in art, through an interdisciplinary approach to the subject overlaps possible between maths, science and art, thus bringing STEAM into STEM learning in science and education. 

The long-term goal of this research is to progress and promote conversations in the wider public domain as to the value of art in aiding the communication of science. It will bring to the broadest forum the value of art in its uniqueness, breadth of language, immediacy and power of communication by visibly and audibly shedding light on physical phenomena and enabling the potential for greater success and enjoyment in learning.  

Names of Supervisors: 

  • Dr Paul L. Harrison
  • Gair Dunlop