[ASC-list] Inspiring Australia update: Fringe Science? And is it effective?

Jesse Shore jesse at prismaticsciences.com
Thu Sep 6 14:50:49 UTC 2012

Inspiring Australia update: Fringe Science? And is it effective?


This IA update for ASC readers is focused on arts based science projects and
asks us for measures of how these activities engage Australians with
science. Better sharpen up your evaluation skills.


Some of these IA funded projects are attracting other investment partners
and that in itself is worthy of ASC members' comments. 


An IA grant is supporting an October event in Melbourne and several more IA
funded arts-science activities are in the pipeline. Read on for more about
this interesting tact in science engagement.


Fringe Science?


The Melbourne Fringe Festival is home to any number of unusual performance
pieces, but perhaps one of the stranger artistic efforts this year is all
the more left-field for its focus on science.


Art, Science and Schizophrenia is an event exploring the science and history
of schizophrenia, drawing on the art and experiences of those living with
this particular mental illness. Developed and produced by the Cooperative
Research Centre for Mental Health in conjunction with the Dax Centre, the
event is also one of Inspiring Australia's 63 Unlocking Australia's
Potential projects.


Inspiring Australia has funded a number of arts-based science projects
through the Unlocking Australia grant round, National Science Week and other
Government funding. This investment has attracted others to co-contribute,
and to build interest in further exploring the art-science dynamic. 


But are these art-science events having the desired effect? Are they opening
up clear lines of communication to everyday Australians? Are they providing
an avenue for scientists to engage with new audiences and if so, what has
been the effect on those audiences?


Projects like this can have some great outcomes, such as the photo book on
Tasmanian Seaweed and the poetry books from Science Made Marvellous
supported through National Science Week. One would expect there is an
overall positive effect in its relation to promoting science engagement, but
it would be great to hear of some stories of tangible impacts of art-science


In addition to Art, Science and Schizophrenia, other Inspiring Australia
supported arts-based science projects include:


*	Insight Radical, where artists and scientists in Melbourne are
combining their knowledge and skills to produce artworks reflecting the
science of free radicals;
*	The Science of Ageing, a theatrical event touring regional South
Australia in 2013, focussing on the processes and impacts of ageing;
*	Fact or Fiction Road Show, which asks what in popular sci-fi really
is science-fiction and what is science reality. Fact or Fiction will be
touring nationally in 2013;
*	Dream of the Thylacine, a live show based on the thylacine using
puppetry and addressing themes of ecology and biology, to be held as part of
the Tasmanian Ten Days on the Island festival; and
*	Harvesting Traditional Knowledge, a series of workshops held across
the Northern Territory to build understanding and skills in cultural


The Inspiring Australia strategy is continually being developed and updated
to help support the best practice and the best outcomes for science
communication in Australia. Why don't you get along to some of these
activities or others you know about and let us know how effective you think
they are?


Art, Science and Schizophrenia
will be showing at The Dax Centre on 10 and 12 October at 6:30pm. Admission
is free.


For more information on Inspiring Australia or Unlocking Australia's
Potential projects, contact the team at
inspiring.australia at innovation.gov.au or on (02) 6270 2912.






Jesse Shore

President, Australian Science Communicators 

 <mailto:president at asc.asn.au> president at asc.asn.au

 <http://www.asc.asn.au/> http://www.asc.asn.au/


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