Art meets science or is it science meets art?

Coastal awareness about beach litter through art: 'Can't Sea Through This' by Elysium Greene and Naomi Edwards - exhibited at SWELL Sculpture Festival.

Raising awareness about beach litter through art: ‘Can’t Sea Through This’ by Elysium Greene and Naomi Edwards – exhibited at the SWELL Sculpture Festival (2012).

I’m been wanting to let loose on this subject for sometime now. Especially having a father who is an artist and a mother who randomly pulls together cute, outrageous outfits. Creative flare is definitely in my genes, which brings me to splash out this tangent.

Back in 2003, I clearly remember flicking through the QTAC booklet trying to decide on what I’d like to study at university. It was actually quite overwhelming trying to decide on what I’d essentially like to be. Though, my love affair for Bilbies founded my first preference for environmental science. Which interestingly, if it wasn’t for such love, I probably would have ended up pursuing an arts bachelor. Or even social work, as both my mother and sister are social workers – when I was a kid I used to attend disability equality marches with my mum (yay for the NDIS/DCA!). Anyway, such fields that wouldn’t have been of surprise to my family. Though, not much further down the track I did find myself studying arts.

Nevertheless, today, here and now, although my science bachelor and arts masters’ certificates collect dust, the applications and skills I’ve learnt certainly haven’t. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to integrate the elements of science and arts being a science communicator. Where I can scientifically integrate my creative flare and love for colour to adapt my engagement strategies when communicating about coastal science and management. For instance, relate the layering of dune species across dunes to the golden rule of thirds – being the fore, mid and hind dune zones. Or even distinguish the diverse shades of blue to help define rip currents and sand movement.

So, as we see the world in colour, our world really is art at its best! Hence, brings me to try my best to answer whether art meets science or science meets art?

You see, when investigating science there can really only be one answer to explain what is happening in the big wide world. Statistics prove this, such as whether a relationship is significantly or insignificantly different (ah, the p vaue will forever haunt me!). Though, sometimes there can be the odd shade of grey to make things difficult; which, in my opinion paints welcoming tones to blend and mix-up the binominal regimental nature of science. However, such a concept brings me to ponder whether or not this very way of proving or disproving a hypothesis has plagued limitations for the general and science communities to be more integrated. Especially when comparing the diversity of relationships one can conceptualise in the arts world – right?

The diversifying nature and needs of science should bring wide-attention to this very subject. Being a science communicator, it is important to apply integrated and challenging ideologies to engage all folk about the what, when, where, why and how. In recent years I’ve been able to achieve this via solely integrating the arts into my science outreach, which has directly benefited my capacity as a coastal community engagement practitioner. Just how I explained this before.

Honestly, I really don’t think I can significantly prove that science is finally meeting the arts world in one tangent. Or maybe shades of grey are clouding my expected regimental take on the world to prove this tangent. Though knowing what works for me is important to continue to discover fresh, engaging approaches for science communication. Mmm, as I was one not to colour within the lines, I’ll let you make up your own mind.

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