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Art and Science Collaboration Highlighted in AASHE Webinar

On November 1, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Kim Landsbergen participated in an AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) webinar with faculty members from Rutgers and the Pacific Northwest College of Art titled, “Art and Science Collaboration: The Key to a Sustainable Future.”

Landsbergen’s presentation during the webinar focused on ways she has collaborated with artists and the advantages of art and science partnerships, and how such interdisciplinary work can produce more effective outreach and engagement results in sustainability than either field alone.. Both artists and scientists follow similar methods in their respective disciplines, including observation, testing and evaluation, pursuing knowledge for knowledge’s sake, and critique and peer review. Landsbergen noted these similarities to illustrate how well these two disciplines work together and create easy opportunities for collaboration, such as co-teaching and using art to communicate data in a visual and accessible way.

Both artists and scientists follow similar methods in their respective disciplines, including observation, testing and evaluation, pursuing knowledge for knowledge’s sake, and critique and peer review. Landsbergen noted these similarities to illustrate how well these two disciplines work together and create easy opportunities for collaboration, such as co-teaching and using art to communicate data in a visual and accessible way.

Landsbergen noted a several different ways she has participated in art science collaboration. One was coordination of her 100-level introduction to Environmental Science course with a 100-level Visual Arts course in a half-day of intensive field work along with in-studio critique and discussion. She has also partnered with artists for a zine about invasive plant species that included scientific and artistic content.

Summarizing what she had learned, Landsbergen noted that art and science partnerships help broaden an audience and create new pathways for engagement. Antioch College is a great example of this—art and science are housed in the same building, which fosters collaboration between the two and promotes interdisciplinary learning. In an email about the webinar, Landsbergen explained that a lot of self-design students have combined art and science in their work, including Teddy Pearson ’17, who did botany and photography for a senior show. Landsbergen also included that she and Forest Bright, Visiting Assistant Professor of Visual Arts, will be co-teaching a global seminar about art and science during next winter quarter.

AASHE members may view the archived webinar and learn more about Landsbergen’s interdisciplinary work by visiting the AASHE Campus Sustainability Hub.