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Monday, 28 April 2014 23:46

Arts, Engineering or Science?

Should we see the Arts, Engineering and Science as separate or are they interlinked?

For a start, Engineering can be seen as applied Science. In fact, it is difficult to define where one begins and the other ends. Does it matter anyway? There are many examples where engineering structures and projects have their own artistic beauty (at least to the beholders) such as suspension bridges. Similarly, some find mathematics quite beautiful and analogous to music.

The same applies to the Arts where many forms of art rely heavily upon scientific knowledge and engineering techniques. Jewellery manufacture is a good example.

Science and engineering are often looked down upon by the arts yet most engineers and scientists have a good appreciation of the arts and usually adopt one or more of the arts as hobbies. I wonder if there are many on the arts side that have a similarly broad set of interests. This polarisation has not always been the case. A good example is Borodin who was both a chemist and a composer. Gilbert and Sullivan are also good examples of people with a broad understanding of many aspects of art and science. Sadly this wide understanding of many areas does not seem to have continued across all disciplines.

Many on the science side are put off by artistic objects because they seem to be totally without function and of little beauty or interest. There was an example of this to be seen in the Reception area of one of the large UK electronics firms. It had a large bas relief black design covering most of the wall. It did not reflect the work of the firm and the artist actually had a label stating that it was not meant to be or mean anything?

On the other hand, one only has to look at the complex curves of jet engines compressor blades to appreciate beauty.

Perhaps we should turn the clock back and learn from each other for the benefit of all?

A quiet region of Scotland is building a reputation (and tourism) through art that connects nature and community.

When I heard about the Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS) it stuck me as curious that this was the first time that there had been one. After all Scotland's environment has always been important as an inspiration for artists, writers, composers, scientists whether that's Edwin Landseer, Margaret Tait, Robert Burns, Hugh McDiarmid, Felix Mendelsshon, Martyn Bennett, James Hutton or Patrick Geddes.

The landscape is rich in folklore and mythology and articulated by prehistoric monuments and signs of thousands of years of inhabitation. In fact even the word 'environment' was coined by Thomas Carlyle when he was living in Ecclefechan in 1828.

Published in Arts and Culture

Creativity is an inherent human trait, education a human right and play is one of the UN Conventions for the Rights of the Child. These are the cornerstones of our creative practice with marginalized communities. Each time we travel to Asia we spend some or most of our time running visual and performing arts projects – we find them an exhilarating way to enter the life of a community, as well as an opportunity to share our skills. Sometimes we are part of an NGO sponsored program, other times guests of a foundation or educational institution and sometimes we respond to impromptu invitations.

Published in Arts and Culture
Sunday, 07 July 2013 16:10

Avoiding the zero-sum game

An Indigenous Australian project-based perspective on creativity and research dissemination.

Sandy O’Sullivan raises important issues relevant to academic researchers everywhere, such as what counts as legitimate research output and how should it be assessed. As she points out, non-text based outputs are now generally acceptable in the arts, but is there as case for these in other areas too, especially in Indigenous research contexts? And when it comes to justifying what counts, who should justify this and what criteria should be used to do so?

Don't forget to watch Sandy's video at the end of this article too.

Published in Arts and Culture
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