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  • Writer's pictureAustin Pugh

MEOPAR Science-Art Symbiosis

Science-Art Symbiosis Workbook

Researchers and creatives will present their work in a unique way during the MEOPAR Annual Network Meeting on November 22, 24, 28, and 30, 2022. MEOPAR will host the virtual Science-Art Symbiosis Showcase, an art gallery-style exhibit via the platform Gather Town, which will feature a variety of science-art submissions that speak to the ocean theme. This free-to-attend event was created as a part of Science-Art Symbiosis, which is co-led by Samantha Jones, PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Calgary.

Sam helped us to create this blog to highlight the story of how this idea evolved from townhall brainstorming to the upcoming art show.

Sam explained that the idea behind this project was first discussed about a year ago during a MEOPAR townhall organized to discuss potential Ocean Decade actions. Sam proposed art as a way communicate about the ocean and ocean sciences both inside and outside of the network. The conversation continued at MEOPAR's Annual Science Meeting (which ran from January 31st–February 11th, 2022). One of the meeting sessions focused on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and included a breakout room chat about “science as art,” where participants discussed what could be done to embrace this connection and leverage it to engage and interest people in ocean challenges?

Sam assumed the role of lead practitioner on this project and worked closely with Jia Yi Fan and Alexa Goodman, both at MEOPAR, to create Science-Art Symbiosis, a three-part initiative that was endorsed as an official UN Ocean Decade activity in September 2022. Sam's experience working at the science-art interface has led to unique creations like Sam's “Ocean Acidification” poem and accompanying video (which can be found by clicking here!).

The Science-Art Symbiosis Workbook, first released in August 2022, was designed to help researchers develop their own creative practices and reflect on the inherent artistic aspects of their day-to-day work. The workbook is available for free online on the MEOPAR website under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License. Following the release of the workbook, Sam facilitated an online Inspiration Session for scientists, researchers, and artists to discuss the intersections of science and art and explore some avenues that could be useful for turning research into artistic expression. The recording of this session is available on MEOPAR's YouTube channel here. The upcoming showcase is the third installment of the Science-Art Symbiosis initiative. The hope is that the workbook and attendance at the Inspiration Session will attract participation at the event, whether that be as a presenter or an audience member.

The MEOPAR Art-Symbiosis page summarizes the story above (which can be found on the MEOPAR website by searching for Art-Science Symbiosis in the navigation bar):

This science-art workbook includes invitations to reflect, generate ideas, and explore how science and art can work together... includ[ing] activities, reflection questions, challenges, and more to help people consider how they might develop their own science-art practice.

The Ocean Decade Community of Practice has been exploring the practice of science-art with the intention of inspiring future creations by the network to be showcased at the MEOPAR Annual Meeting in November, and beyond. Developed by interdisciplinary scientist Samantha Jones, these activities aim to engage diverse participation across the network and centre the science-art practices of diverse folks. No previous experience with art is necessary.

These activities align with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Challenge 10: Change humanity’s relationship with the ocean and Outcome 7: An inspiring and engaging ocean. Ocean literacy and communicating the value of the oceans is important for knowledge mobilization and to inspire people to get involved. These activities are officially endorsed as UN Decade contributions.

If you are interested in attending the upcoming showcase, register for the MEOPAR Annual Meeting for free by clicking here! See you there!

To learn more about the MEOPAR Ocean Decade Community of Practice click here including how to join the steering committee as a member or co-lead click here, or join the mailing list here.


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