Dialogues arts and science conference – Leeds, 19 March 2011, 9am-5pm


Conference 2011: Dialogues

Saturday 19th March 2011, 9-5pm
Rose Bowl, Leeds Metropolitan University
Tickets: £25 / £15 Concessions (Students/Benefits)
Group discount available (5 or more: £20/£10)

Deadline for bookings 28th February 2011

The conference will consists of two keynote lectures before lunch (provided) and seven workshops/seminars in the afternoon to which delegates can attend one each.

Supported by Arts Council England, Northern Arts and Science Network presents a one day arts and science conference.

This conference will provide an insight into the varied types and modes of discourse and conversations that are currently emerging from combinatory areas of arts/science research and collaboration. The conference will ask the core question: How do collaborations of arts and science manifest themselves?

Keynote Speakers

•Dr Julian Kiverstein, Edinburgh University. Teaching Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Edinburgh University. Julian talk will revolve around sensory substitution devices. This is an example of the extended mind since it is brain, body and technology working together to help the patients to see. There’s actually some debate about whether the user really does “see” and this raises the interesting question of what does it mean to see.

•Dr David James, Sheffield Hallam University’s Extraordinary Moves Project. David will be presenting the project Extraordinary Moves: Science and Art in the Cultural Olympiad. Led by Sheffield Hallam University to explore the myriad of complex ethical and moral questions that arise from scientific pursuit of human enhancement, the project draws together a consortium of leading artists and scientists to create a new body of work incorporating theatre, performance, film, installation, photography and dance.


•The Science, Ethics and Art of Sport, led by Dr David James — Artist Jason Minsky and sports scientist David James explore the key ethical issues facing the world of sport in this interactive workshop. Wireless voting consoles will be used to quiz participants and gauge responses to a number of ethical dilemmas. Should disabled and non-disabled athletes be allowed to compete together? Why ban the use of drugs in sport? Should we replace referees and umpires with sensors and computers? What will sport look like in 2112?. Jason Minsky is a visual artist who has spent the past 12 months responding to these questions through a residency at the Centre for Sports Engineering Research, Sheffield Hallam University. David James is a leading sports engineer and commentator on the ethics of sport.

•Common Ground, led by Dr. Sophy Smith — A practical and enjoyable insight to working across the boundaries of art and science. The workshop will take the form of a mixture of practical activities and discussion, asking participants to reflect on their preconceptions and experiences of working with scientists and artists, focusing on essential similarities and differences and identifying where common ground can be found, upon which strong projects can be built. It aims to give participants an increased understanding of the working across art and science, practical skills in cross-discipline working and a space to reflect on past and future practice. Dr Sophy Smith is a principle Lecturer at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University.

•Visualising the Invisible, led by Karen Heald — Building upon work developed at the psychiatric NHS unit, this collaborative arts and science workshop seeks to present new perspectives into the effects of anti-depressant medications. This collaborative arts/science practice explores these interests through creative, patient lead, artistic expressions of change alongside conventional, reductionist measures of changing depressive symptoms producing sophisticated fusions of art/science. The workshops will consist of a brief introduction, followed by round table dialogues working with either a scientist or an artist and finally there will be an open forum discussion. Karen Heald is an artist, researcher and academic. She also works as an Artist in Residence in a UK, National Health Service, acute inpatient psychiatric department.

•The Emergence of Consciousness, led by Anna Dumitriu — UK based performance and media artist Anna Dumitriu will create a short improvised performance to investigate what it feels like to be a robot. The workshop will include a discussion, a brainstorming session and performance exercises, which enable the participants to focus on how performance might potentially be considered as a methodology for science. Anna Dumitriu is a visual artist working with installations, interventions and performances that use a range of digital, biological and traditional media. She is Artist in Residence in The Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR) at Sussex University.

•Return to the Silence, led by Jack Lowe, Curious Directive — The objectives of the workshop are to question how theatre, as a live form of performance, can explore intricate questions of neuroscience and to open up the question of what can be learnt from the processes of the brain when creating a piece of devised theatre and what can science learn from artistic approaches to practise. Engaging participants in exercises which question the creative processes of the brain in a number of exercises – with particular focus on “movement and rhythm?. Participants then will be led by a theatre director, neurologist or composer whilst approaching the same question. Jack Lowe is currently the Trainee Director and Education leader for Paines Plough theatre company.

•The Observatories, led by Julie Freeman — The workshop session aims to explore how smell can be used in a manipulative way, and how an artistic concept and a science experiment can be combined into a participatory public artwork. It will include: a talk including an explanation of The Observatories; a session where participants will feedback on how smell can be used in art, in retail, in public spaces; and further discussion on issues surrounding placing a so-called scientific experiment in a public place. During the session various smells will be used to permeate the room! Julie Freeman is a graduate of the MA in Digital Arts at the Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University, London and currently resident artist at the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Centre at Cranfield University, member of Market Project and Associate Researcher at Goldsmith’s Digital Studio.

•On The Emergence of Artificial Culture in Robots Societies, led by Dr Jenny Tennant Jackson and members of the Bristol Robotics Team — We should say that real robots would actually lead this workshop! They will be accompanied by (human) members of a team led by that has received EPSRC funding for a research project that will look at how ‘artificial culture’ emerges within a group of robots. The robots will be programmed to do simple tasks, and we will observe whatever outcome emerges. ‘Emergence’ is a specific characteristic of complexity science, or complex adaptive systems. It is recognisable as (evolutionary) change occurring within a group of entities or agents: in the way a “whole” acts beyond the sum of its parts; in the emergent moment of change. Observers in the workshop are essential as various subjective opinions of what it is we are observing is integral to the ‘science’. The team comprises: Professor Alan Winfield (Engineer and Roboticist, University of the West of England); Dr James Bown (Complex Systems Analyst, University of Abertay Dundee); Dr Robin Durie (Philosopher, University of Exeter); Professor Francis Griffiths (Social Scientist, University of Warwick); Professor Alistair Sutcliffe (Computer Scientist, University of Manchester); Dr Jenny Tennant Jackson (Art Historian and Cultural Theorist, Leeds Metropolitan University). PhD students: Sajida Bhamjee, Mehmet Erbas and Andy Guest. Post Doctoral researcher: Di Wang.

Conference will be chaired by Dr Jenny Tennant Jackson