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Exploring the Art-Science Interface

Interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and geoscientists are becoming increasingly invaluable in communicating complex geoscience subjects to non-experts. Topics such as climate change can be contradictory and confusing to the general public, particularly in terms of uncertainty and impact. It is therefore vital that STEM communicators work to find alternative methods to enable dialogue between experts and the wider public on how to face and respond to these increasingly prevalent topics. It is becoming increasingly evident that both the scientific and the artist communities have a shared interest and responsibility in raising awareness of the limits to our planetary boundaries and the fragile stability and resilience of our Earth-System. In the past, this issue has been addressed mostly through traditional educational methods. However, there is mounting evidence that science-art collaborations can play a pivotal and vital role in this context by co-creating new ways of research and by stimulating the discussion by providing emotional and human context through the arts.

This session will combine a traditional academic poster session showcasing interdisciplinary research which will explore the dialogues between the geosciences and the arts alongside a display of art that aims to visually showcase these practises in action. Through symbiotically mixing STEM and the arts together in this way, the session aims to enable a discussion on how to use the two to explore and communicate the social, economic, political and environmental factors facing society and drive improved communication. In this edition, there will be a special spotlight on science/art collaboration that has been used to tackle the topic of planet sustainability.

Public information:
Interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and geoscientists are becoming increasingly invaluable in communicating complex geoscience subjects to non-experts. Topics such as climate change can be contradictory and confusing to the general public, particularly in terms of uncertainty and impact. It is therefore vital that STEM communicators work to find alternative methods to enable dialogue between experts and the wider public on how to face and respond to these increasingly prevalent topics. It is becoming increasingly evident that both the scientific and the artist communities have a shared interest and responsibility in raising awareness of the limits to our planetary boundaries and the fragile stability and resilience of our Earth-System. In the past, this issue has been addressed mostly through traditional educational methods. However, there is mounting evidence that science-art collaborations can play a pivotal and vital role in this context by co-creating new ways of research and by stimulating the discussion by providing emotional and human context through the arts.

This session will combine a traditional academic poster session showcasing interdisciplinary research which will explore the dialogues between the geosciences and the arts alongside a display of art that aims to visually showcase these practises in action. Through symbiotically mixing STEM and the arts together in this way, the session aims to enable a discussion on how to use the two to explore and communicate the social, economic, political and environmental factors facing society and drive improved communication. In this edition, there will be a special spotlight on science/art collaboration that has been used to tackle the topic of planet sustainability.

Convener: Kelly StanfordECSECS | Co-conveners: Daniel Parsons, Konstantin Novoselov, Louise ArnalECSECS
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Wed, 28 Apr, 09:00–10:30

Chairpersons: Kelly Stanford, Daniel Parsons, Konstantin Novoselov

5-minute convener introduction

Helen McGhie

I am a photographic artist, a PhD student and a Lecturer in Photography at the University of Sunderland. Through the still and moving image, my practice reimagines ubiquitous photography through new perspectives, engaged with place and encounter—in my practice-led PhD, I am exploring astronomy at Kielder Observatory, Northumberland, UK (KOAS). I propose a display of lens-based art (demonstrating methods), and a paper to provide context and discussion. This session is significant in engaging a 'global’ audience with creative perspectives from a ‘local’ observatory.

‘Stargazing at the ‘Invisible’: Photography and the Power of Obscured Light – A Research Partnership with Kielder Observatory’ explores how lens-based art can operate within and in response to an observatory in an International Dark Sky Park in Northern England, questioning:

  • what new encounters with dark skies emerge when a fine-art photographer works in partnership with an astronomy organisation?
  • can photography visualise the experience of dark sky observation in Northern England?
  • how can lens-based art communicate a speculative practice of astronomy?

Funded by the National Productivity Investment Fund (part of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy, impacting industrial needs through researcher-industry partner collaborations), my project is designed to mutually benefit the photographic field and KOAS (supporting a new art programme), whilst offering a model for future art and ‘science outreach’ collaborations.

The multi-method work combines image-making, conversations, exhibitions and reflective practice. In addition, an extended artist residency and planned display of practice at KOAS (website, e-newsletters, site-specific contexts and pre-event film screenings) expand the potential for new photographic narratives on astronomy. An immersive encounter with the dark skies at Kielder is crucial to the work, departing from sublime starry-skies that usually illustrate astronomy.

A virtual photography exhibition and paper at EGU21 will introduce my current outcomes to STEM and creative colleagues, provoking dialogues on photography's ability to communicate complex ideas to non-specialist audiences. Concepts include speculative dark skies, encounter, and the perspective of looking from Northern England. 


'Dark Adaptation', 2019                                                                                                               SDSS plate, 2019

'Wanderers', 2017-19

Vintage trade card, 2019                                                 Install, Sunderland Museum, 2019-20

'KOas' film stills

How to cite: McGhie, H.: Stargazing at the 'Invisible': Photography and the Power of Obscured Light – A Research Partnership with Kielder Observatory. , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8348, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8348, 2021.

Clare Holdsworth

This paper presents an upcycling creative project: bedding into bags. The premise of the project is straightforward; to take an unused everyday household item (a duvet cover) and upcycle this into new products (8 different types of bags). The project develops a growing body of geographical research on the embodied practices of making, wherein the researcher is maker rather than observer. Through close attention to the materiality of making this project reveals the intricate assemblages of  materials and time that upcycling requires. This project responds to calls for a practice-based approach to sustainability that can reveal the possibilities and limitations of ‘doing’ sustainability.

How to cite: Holdsworth, C.: Bedding into Bags: The material and temporal assemblages of upcycling, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-551, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-551, 2021.

Sophie Peters

This multidisciplinary dissertation investigates in detail, visual art as a method of communication, in particular about a scientific topic: microplastics and human health. Primary and secondary research conducted suggest that microplastics have potential to cause health problems in humans due to the leaching of toxic chemicals and that over 8% of an educated western sample had never heard of microplastics before. Over 30% of participants reported that a painting was a more effective form of communication about microplastics and human health than a scientific poster on the same topic, opening areas for further study into the value and process of communication through visual art.

How to cite: Peters, S.: Understanding microplastics, and visual art as a method of communication: scientific poster versus painting, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-600, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-600, 2021.

Bernard Guelton

CORES: Interactions of artistic and scientific perspectives

Bernard GUELTON, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, ANR CORES


Artistic context

The research team Fictions & Interactions of the University Paris 1 and the media company ORBE have developed since 2013 collective artistic experiments between distant cities (Paris, Shanghai, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro). Using specially designed interactive applications and creative scenarios, the goal was to connect remote walkers between one or the other of these cities. The project was to hybridize urban spaces of different conformities through physical, virtual and fictional interactions between participants.

The artistic practices of space and especially the interactions between distant walkers do not simply provide a context for study here, but form a kind of anticipation of the post-representational paradigm of cartography with examples such as the psycho-geography of the situationists in the late 1950s. As early as 1994, an artist like Fujihata used GPS technology in his project Impressing Velocity. The data collected by Fujihata models the itinerary by producing a contraction of the form during a rapid movement, or an expansion of the form during a slow movement. However, it is from the 2000s that groups of artists from participatory theater such as Blast Theory use GPS technologies, visual and verbal interactions to connect walkers in tasks of exploration or playful interaction.

Scientific implications

After several years of experimentation on collective walks using instrumental and shared CTs, a central scientific question has clearly emerged: to what extent are instrumental and shared maps likely to modify our behaviours and spatial representations?

To answer the question of the impact of mapping tools and collective interactions on collective representations, the CORES project associates and crosses geography, geomatics, cognitive psychology, computer science, artistic practices of walking, design and data visualization. Each of these disciplines contributes to the proposed methodology. Spatial cognition from cognitive psychology is now extended and transformed by the neurophysiology of brain areas dedicated to spatial behaviors. If the study of representations in space has long associated cognitive psychology and geographical sciences, the CORES project renews this association in an original way by closely linking representations of space to behaviours with an approach that is no longer only static, but above all dynamic. Thus, a dynamic approach to the trackings of walkers in relation to a dynamic approach to drawn representations forms an important stake at the level of the proposed methodology.

How to cite: Guelton, B.: CORES: Interactions of artistic and scientific perspectives, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-686, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-686, 2021.

Daniele Ingredy Silva

Given the current environmental crises locally and globally, it became more evident that the level of understanding on the part of most citizens, about the importance of preserving the environment, and even the importance of science and professionals who study the functioning of planet Earth, such as Geosciences and more specifically Geology, is still very precarious and little known in Brazil. It is clear the importance of introducing geosciences since primary education so that with the development of students and the training of these citizens, we can have a better-educated society, not only at the academic level but also with a better environmental awareness directed towards conservation and preservation of the planet. In order to improve this understanding and create children's interest, through a more accessible language about complex processes, a book with artistic illustrations was produced, called “The grand story of a Grain of sand”. The book aimed at children from 6 to 10 years old, describes and illustrates the journey of a grain of sand, from the formation of magma, through the volcanic eruption, rock formation, transport processes, and weathering. The book uses informal language and the association of such processes with everyday situations and experiences commonly lived by children regardless of the socioeconomic situation. The story is fully illustrated and comes with a glossary with more scientific explanations of the terms described in the narrative, to assist parents and teachers who read the book with the children. The illustrations in the book follow in the same direction, both with the literal illustration of the text and with the complementation of the narrative. The character that accompanies the journey narrated by the grain of sand was also created to represent and include the children who read the book in the text. The use of support tools such as the book object of this work has great importance in the dissemination and popularization of geosciences and extension actions such as the one exemplified in this abstract, has to be increasingly worked on by the scientific community so that we can communicate with each other and in a more effective way with the population outside the academic environment.

How to cite: Silva, D. I.: Geosciences and the Art of Children's book., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-705, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-705, 2021.

Lucy E Smith

This research considers the educational role of art in finding pathways towards accessing mathematics and science, particularly those abstract concepts usually only accessible to people with an advanced algebraic vocabulary.

In the light of the narrowing of the school curriculum in recent decades, and particularly the reduction in timetabling of art and music in English schools, this research actively explores the use of topic overlap between sciences and art to investigate how abstract concepts can be made tangible through visual and aural stimulation.

Kinetic sculpture is employed that visibly and audibly demonstrates particular phenomena, e.g. wavelike behaviour, harmonic ratios or resonance. The sculpture encompasses two or more tangible aspects such as shape, pattern, scale, sound, resonant frequencies, motion, recorded film that illuminates differences in different latitudes, and reversed or translated perspectives.

Feedback is sought through exhibitions of the sculpture. Through observation, survey and interview, key metrics are captured and analysed. These include the degree to which interest has been captured, curiosity aroused, and particularly comprehension aided by the art designed to maximise observation, questioning, critical thinking and learning.

The longer term goal of the research is to initiate a conversation in the wider public domain as to the value of art in accessing abstract concepts. It will bring to the broadest forum the value of art in its uniqueness, breadth of language, immediacy and power of communication by visibly and audibly shedding light on physical phenomena and enabling people the potential for greater success and enjoyment in learning.


How to cite: Smith, L. E.: Making the Conceptual Tangible: The Role of Art in Understanding Mathematics and Physics, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-960, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-960, 2021.

Cormac Byrne and Ronadh Cox

It is difficult to educate the public about geoscience and to create a message that will be heard in a noisy world. Coastal geoscience in particular—despite its growing importance as sea-level rises and storminess increases—has not penetrated effectively into the public sphere. High-energy coasts attract increasing numbers of visitors, most unaware of hazards related to stochastic wave behaviour. Photo-seekers in the Instagram era are driving up accidents in extreme environments, and it’s increasingly common for people to be caught off guard and dragged into the ocean by rogue waves. Creative ways are needed to build awareness of the hazards, as well as the beauty, of high-energy coasts.

"Drumming the Waves", a musical representation of wave interactions with boulder beaches, is an NSF-funded musician-geoscientist collaboration. Informed by the shared physics of sound and water waves, the composition will showcase how mutual interference among wave sets gives rise to chaotic seas, rogue waves, and ocean swell; and how waves can be amplified unpredictably in the coastal zone. Minimalist compositional techniques are employed to overlap and superimpose multiple series of small and seemingly inconsequential rhythmic and melodic musical events, leading to composite results that are unpredictable, sometimes chaotic, and occasionally extreme.

A visceral artistic approach helps capture the ‘feeling’ of coastal waves and the impact of their interaction with boulder beaches, conveying sea states from serene calm to extreme chaos. Audio samples recorded at coastal locations in Ireland and the UK, both in air and beneath the ocean surface, are interwoven in the soundscape. We use wave sounds both in their natural audio state and in processed form. Creating new sounds by interacting field recordings of waves with electronic audio processers provides an artistic representation of the ubiquitous power and energy present in coastal environments. The temporal and erratic nature of coastal waves informs the musical structures on a macro level, exploring the contrast between the simple rhythm of tides and swell, and the irregular ephemerality of turbulent sea conditions. On a micro level, parallels between ocean and audio waves shapes are exploited to create novel musical events by shaping LFO (low frequency oscillator) and noise gates to mimic two-dimensional coastal wave models. Periodic emergence of unexpectedly large sound events mimics hazardous rogue wave generation.

We will build educational content around the music, to contextualise and explain it, and to draw attention specifically to boulder beaches, wave hazards, and the science of high-energy coasts. Simple worksheets showing wave spectra will be paired with percussion rhythms and melody that can be layered by students, either drumming and singing together, or mixing audio loops within a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) such as GarageBand. This will permit students to build complex spectra from simple underlying wave forms. PowerPoint slides and explanatory text, pitched at the appropriate level, will be distributed to teachers for combined music/science learning. Using music to convey the science of wave interactions and wave amplification opens new doors and prospects for engaging and educating the public.

How to cite: Byrne, C. and Cox, R.: Drumming the waves: conveying coastal geoscience with rhythm, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1405, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-1405, 2021.

Stefania Schamuells et al.

Earth Sciences are booming in social media, an unexampled scenario a few years ago. In the last year, these numbers have increased because of the COVID-19, citizens are consuming even more digital information, at the same time they are looking for more simplified and easy-understanding scientific concepts. It is very important to remark the value of entertainment, humor, and visual contents, which have a light universal language to approach Earth Sciences to citizens and experts beyond the pure academic frontiers. In this work, we share some successful examples through the use of illustration, comic, and infographic content between two Instagram accounts (@ohmagmamia and @salirconunageologa) which addend more than 13,000 followers and have a potential reach up to 37.1k (based on their account insights). The audience for this content is international although it has gained great popularity among the Spanish-speaking public (the initial target audience), little by little creating an interesting and growing movement. Countries such as Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Spain have the greatest impact according to statistics. Age range is between 18-34 years for 87% of the audience, with a clearly female predominance (55% in @Ohmagmamia and 60% in @Salirconunageologa).

One of the principal goals of these accounts is to develop visual, artistic and easy-understanding content that fits the audience. On one hand @Ohmagmamia uses photographic material (e.g. landscapes, outcrops, hand specimen samples or micro-photographies), simple geological sketches and infographic content along with small descriptions in the post captions. This approach has been well received by both Earth Science students and non-professional enthusiasts, as well as biology-geology teachers and public examination trainers. On the other hand, @Salirconunageologa (Dating a geologist) uses cartoons, humour and comics to approach Earth Sciences to professionals and the general public. Its visual material focuses on storytelling to explain what it means to be a geologist using all its universe of friendly characters. In the first season of “Dating a Geologist Universe” (with 17 episodes), the main character, Nia Stone, is involved in different hilarious situations related to Earth Sciences, like volcanoes, trilobites, or Dr. Gems (the main Villain). This “geocomics” have been very well received, being the first chapter the one which records the best audience data, with 10k accounts reached on Instagram. 

Social media statistics data provide interesting information about the success of these scientific dissemination’s new methods. In the last 6 months of the 2020 both accounts reached an average of 11,000 Instagram accounts with an average more than 1,000 “likes” per post and with an engagement rate that varies from 9 to 12%. In addition, the use of other social media such as Twitter or YouTube able us to reach more people and/or accounts by using Twitter “threads” or sharing videos of invite talks or “webinars”, whose popularity grew during the quarantine period. All these results show the importance of a perfect relation between visuals, art and Earth Science and its capability to reach people from all around the globe.

How to cite: Schamuells, S., Dorado, O., Hopfenblatt, J., Aulinas, M., and Geyer, A.: Earth Scientist and Social Media: approaching our planet to young people and general public using comics and illustration., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2868, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-2868, 2021.

Shane Hanlon

The mission of the American Geophysical Union’s Sharing Science program is to provide scientists with the skills, tools, and opportunities they need to share their science with any audience. While we in the program possess the skills and expertise to do this, we also believe that it’s beneficial for artists to learn from, and be inspired by, their peers. To achieve this goal, we created a digital space for science artists to share their work and creative processes.

In 2020, we launched two specials series on our blog: AGU Rocks and Drawn to Geoscience. The purpose of these series was to highlight scientists who write songs and create illustrations about science. We not only wanted to showcase the amazing creative work of science artists but also have them explain their creative and technical processes in as effort to lower the barrier to entry for those who may be interested in pursuing similar creative efforts but don’t know where to start.

By the end of 2020, we received over 40 AGU and Drawn to Geoscience contributions with a queue of posts scheduled for 2021. Because of the huge outpouring of submissions and demonstrated enthusiasm for the content, we are planning to expand this into a hub for all forms of scicomm via art where science artists can learn from, and be inspired by, their peers, and scientists and non-scientists alike can learn about diverse aspects of science in engaging and accessible ways. 

How to cite: Hanlon, S.: Inspiring creativity in science-inspired art and music in the digital world., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2980, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-2980, 2021.

Shona Paterson and Hester Whyte and the Catching A Wave collective

Generating social behavioural change in the face of increasing variability in our planet’s climate remains one of the biggest challenges of our time. In a world of constantly shifting biophysical and social realities, we face an ever-evolving need for new and innovative ideas around sustainable development.

The philosophy and nature of the Catching A Wave project has the liberty and potential to generate, and inspire, shifts in social perceptions in ways that science and data alone currently do not. Catching a Wave acts as a catalyst to shift individual and collective mind-sets towards climate action and consideration for the people who live, work and interact within at-risk coastal spaces. Using a transdisciplinary approach to overcome barriers in language, discipline specific jargon and siloed thinking, the project team are exploring ways of integrating voices of coastal and island peoples and communities who are often marginalized into a multi-media sea level rise installation.

Extensive 3D digital mapping of actual waves by CaW researchers has enabled the creation of glass wave sculptures at various scales as a mechanism to demonstrate the synergies between art and science. While the glass art acts as a visual interpretation of the oceans’ complexity, the inclusion of soundbites of coastal people as well as sounds of the ocean itself is another way to  communicate and connect with our audiences. In addition to interviews with coastal communities, we are working with a music composer  and singer to ‘re-map’ our digital wave data to the sonic parameters of pitch, volume, spatialisation and audio filtering (Riding the wave). Despite in person activities being curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are engaging in several on-going digital initiatives. We have launched the virtual Planetary Wave project to demonstrate the connection we all have in different ways with the ocean.

CaW aims to ensure that the visualisation and realisation of solutions and pathways to sustainability become more reachable for all, from local to global scales and is a partner in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Catching a Wave represents a collective of transdisciplinary researchers from five universities based in the USA, UK and Ireland, combining expertise in environmental, social sciences and the arts.

How to cite: Paterson, S. and Whyte, H. and the Catching A Wave collective: Catching a Wave: the Ripple Effect of Transdisciplinarity, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3208, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3208, 2021.

Emer Emily Neenan

Much like many crafted items, research must be functional and fit for purpose, but there's no reason why it can't also be beautiful, creative, and expressive.

In working with teenagers and young people on geoscience education and climate literacy, it became increasingly important to me to find ways to express my research that would connect with people who didn't have a foundation (yet, or at all) in academic discourse. My PhD thesis is therefore written as a creative semi-fictional epistolary; a collection of documents that tell the story of the research from the first tentative proposal to my would-be supervisor, to the final submission. I made the choice to produce a creative thesis for my student co-researchers and other readers, but the person who benefitted most from it was me. The creative process in designing my thesis was fulfilling, fun, and facilitated a deeper and more meaningful engagement with my own research. 

In discussing my thesis with another researcher, trying to explain how and why I was writing geoscience education research through annotations and poems and chatlogs, I suggested the metaphor of a quilt. A quilt is inherently a functional object that must meet certain qualifying standards in order to be accepted and used. But also, a quilt can be an intricately crafted artwork, reflective not just of its use, but of the person who makes it; their choices, their joys, their cares. As a quilt is an artwork with a specific useful function of keeping someone warm at night, so too a thesis (or paper or project) can be artistic and creative while also still having useful functions of building knowledge, generating data, or developing theory. 

So, long story short, I also sewed a thesis quilt, to express both the process and outcome of my doctoral research as a piece of fabric art!

How to cite: Neenan, E. E.: Expert Perspectives & Methodological Excerpts: Stitching a thesis quilt, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12773, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-12773, 2021.

John Bruun

Our natural world presents many fascinating and often bizarre phenomena to us. The way primary producers convert sunlight with nutrients as part of the existence of life is simply amazing. This gives rise to phytoplankton communities in the oceans and the growth of trees across the world. The signals of our dynamic world, its chronology and patterns of how this life grows are indelibly written into these trees as well as in mineral and oceanic floor strata. In this session I’d like to symbolically ask a generic tree “what were the choices made 150 years ago that led to our current warming?” As interdisciplinary scientists – the thinking process we use whilst embedded in logic and reason – is also closely related to our personal creative and imagining aptitudes. Our social norms also reflect the scope of decisions that we choose to talk about and identify with. By enabling a platform that frames the co-existence of contemporary scientific reasoning together with the artistic expression we re-imagine and further create possibilities, through stories, drawing, metaphor, sound and dance. With this, a wider community of scientists can engage with topics that previously seem technically obscure. A deeper public understanding of geosciences also develops. In the first part of this session I’ll narrate a story of climate change choices see by the generic tree seen over the last 500 years linking this to tree ring records, personal geoscience learning and the EGU photo archive. In the second part – I invite the audience to share their creative points of view about these climatic era’s and to further explore what stories this generic tree may be telling us about our world. The aim of this work is to enable group participation and share creative ideas. My hope is that we may envisage new combinations of opportunities about climatic futures that can enable a more resilient future for us all.

How to cite: Bruun, J.: The story of a tree and what its tells us about our life, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6417, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6417, 2021.

Jenni Barclay et al.

We all experience and understand volcanic eruptions differently; it is at the intersection of these experiences that the most valuable knowledge for effective future disaster risk reduction is generated. On one hand, scientific responses to eruptions have the potential to improve understanding of subsurface magma movement and anticipate volcanic impacts on communities and the environment. On the other, social and cultural responses have the potential to help communities learn, respond and adapt to eruptions. The aim of ‘Disaster Passed’ is to bring together and celebrate these different forms of knowledge. Here, we demonstrate key aspects of our interactive exhibits designed to convey the lived experience, scientific monitoring and cultural responses to past eruptions on St. Vincent and Montserrat.

The centrepieces are two volcano-shaped mobile exhibits (‘Soufrière Blow’ and ‘MountainAglow’) covered with panels that display images and information about past eruptions, together with poetry, calypso lyrics and prose inspired by the impacts of these eruptions. We further embellished MountainAglow with two add-on audio-visual features, ‘FLOW’ and ‘NEST’. FLOW, a ~3m column, encrusted with ~2000 LEDs, has seven audio-visual modes which portray a variety of volcanic phenomena, such as the movement of magma within the volcano and the gentle incandescence of the lava dome, accompanied by songs and recordings of Montserratians sharing their experiences of different phases of the Soufrière Hills eruption. NEST consists of a series of ash-strewn communication devices (a telephone, a walkie talkie and a radio) which play on-demand memories of the eruption as both spoken word and calypso. Soufrière Blow was deployed to St Vincent in 2018 has since been exhibited in multiple sites; MountainAglow was previewed at the Norwich Science Festival before being permanently moved to Montserrat in 2019, where it has been exhibited at the Montserrat Community College, National Trust, and deployed temporarily at primary schools.

Our research on volcanic disaster risk has demonstrated the power of lived experience as a mechanism for improved response in the future. Therefore, a second purpose of Disaster Passed was to entwine critical risk messages with lived experience, and in so doing further enrich everyone’s understanding. Our collaborative approach to exhibit design generated and uncovered material with value beyond the physical exhibits, and so a final aspect of Disaster Passed is the creation of a website that shares these histories, songs and scientific data that helped to respond to past eruptions (disasterspassed.com; mountainaglow.com).

Throughout Disaster Passed, the design process has been dynamic, underpinned by collaboration between scientific bodies, governmental organisations and, critically, the wider community. Indeed, at the time of writing, in collaboration with the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, the primary schools of Montserrat are designing new panels and audio-visuals for MountainAglow to reflect their own learning about the volcano. In this presentation we reflect on the challenges and successes of this dynamic design and collaborative approach. Finally, we will share how it influenced our own disciplinary ideas and the outcomes of our evaluation of the process.

How to cite: Barclay, J., Pascal, K., Arts, O., Mangler, M., Christie, J., Armijos, T., Mcmahon, W., Robertson, R., Edwards, S., and Retourne, K.: Disaster Passed: a singing, flashing and sobering glimpse into coping with volcanic eruptions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13396, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13396, 2021.

Jeffrey Nytch

As part of its 125th Anniversary in 2013, the Geological Society of America commissioned Symphony No. 1: Formations from composer Jeffrey Nytch and premiered the work, performed by the Boulder Philharmonic, and the GSA’s annual meeting in Denver. The project attracted national and international attention for its mix of music and geology: unlike most musical works inspired by landscapes, Formations was inspired by geological processes themselves—specifically, those that shaped the Rocky Mountains. Nytch, who holds undergraduate degrees in both geology and music, will discuss how the project educated laypersons in the basics of Rocky Mountain geology while simultaneously building an audience for the orchestra. The Formations project is a type example of how the arts can be used to increase understanding within communities of the science happening all around them, provide the scientific community with a new lens through which to see their work, and establish a new channel for arts organizations to engage their community and build their audience. This complementary dynamic results in increased knowledge, understanding, and community amongst and between groups of people who might not otherwise experience each other’s worlds, and suggests that the arts can play a significant role in increasing scientific literacy and understanding.

How to cite: Nytch, J.: A Geologic Symphony: A Model for Scientific Engagement through the Arts, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6639, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6639, 2021.

Matej Machek et al.

As science communicators we are confronted with little attention paid to the understanding of the Earth inner processes in the educational system of the Czech Republic. For that reason, we thought about ways how to explain basic principles of the Earth dynamics in accessible way to the school students and high school youth. We saw comics as an attractive way that would overcome the gap between knowledge and the need to entertain the young readers. We also thought that in the comics we should not be tell all everything with lot of explanatory text, but rather to try to provoke the reader to look for information and answers and hence to start the passion for science. So, we are trying to explain by graphics.

The presented experience covers the collaboration among three researches, graphic designer and writer in the process of creation of two short comic books about earthquake origin and inner structure of the Earth and origin of the Earth magnetic field.

We believe that such collaboration – to be effective – needs to be founded on several principles. The base of the comics, the storyboard, needs to be the result of discussions and collective effort of all participants. The artists need to be given creative freedom and the researchers should explain how the processes work inside the Earth rather than to try to push forward their views of artistic expression of them. Also, mainly the researches need to accept the equality of roles during the creative process. Last but not least the friendly atmosphere helps a lot.

The first comics “When the Earth Quakes” was created during second half of year 2019 and first months of year 2020 so the work was mostly based on personal meetings. The second comics is in production during diverse lockdowns and thus most of the communication is realized online. Therefore, different types of communication will be reflected based on our experience.   

The comics “When the Earth Quakes” and related board game is published under the Creative Commons license: https://www.ig.cas.cz/en/outreach/comics-seismic-wave/

How to cite: Machek, M., Kučerová, K., Brož, P., Lukačovičová, L., and Píša, D.: When the science meets art – a report from the creation of comics about Earthquakes and Geomagnetic field, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10853, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10853, 2021.

Vicki Kerr

Title: Airways

Author: Dr Vicki Kerr (Wintec, New Zealand)

Session: Exploring the Art-Science Interface

There is no other human activity that emits as much CO2 over such a short period of time as aviation, thereby significantly contributing to the acceleration of global warming, releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

As an artist and former air traffic controller, I am interested in the profound impact of the air travel system on the natural environment and other species - as bodies on the ground and bodies in the air. Bodily movements are key in unearthing encounters and entanglements of animals and infrastructure, as a terrain of mobility-in-action that is normally difficult to portray or represent.  Most recently, due to the global spread of a coronavirus, worldwide air travel disruption has resulted in significant changes to the usual rhythm of flight, with humans effectively becoming de-centered and reconfigured within a broader ecological/multispecies system. 

My paper will discuss a recent collaboration between myself, a musician (Micah Livesay) and mathematician (Chris Batterton) that resulted in the creation of an immersive video/sound installation (Airways 2020), which aims to show the environmental impact of aviation and more broadly ways in which the atmosphere is permeated at every layer by technologies of communication, transportation and scientific research.  By using the mathematics of quantum wave superposition based upon aircraft movement data in New Zealand, the installation draws attention to the mathematical and statistical models playing essential roles in evaluating the effects of human activities, while also questioning and stretching the sensorium through animated renders and a musical score.  Drawing upon creative synergies between artistic and scientific thinking, ‘Airways’ reworks dynamic acoustic exchanges (humans and birds) alongside processes of calculation /computation to better our understanding of habitat connectivity and entanglements of species/human/non-human systems and networks.

How to cite: Kerr, V.: Airways, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9280, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9280, 2021.

Harriet Hawkins et al.

The urban subsurface is key to developing sustainable urban futures (SDG 11). Yet, as is well acknowledged, geoscientists face many challenges in engaging stakeholders and communities with the urban subsurface, as well as the challenges associated wtih fragmented data sources, knowledge gaps, citizen ‘oversight,’ and challenging subsurface cultural associations (Bricker et al. 2017, 2019). In this paper we present a case for the value of the intersections between geoscience and creative practices (from visual methods to participatory arts) in helping to address some of these challenges. To make our case we present preliminary findings from a collaboration between geoscientists and science communicators based at the British Geological Survey, and a cultural geographer experienced in researching and creating art-science collaborations. We explore three things:

We close our discussion with an invitation to join us in forming a network exploring the potential of art-geoscience collaborations for understanding, using and preserving the urban subsurface. 

How to cite: Hawkins, H., Bricker, S., Cotteril, C., Dunnet, E., Hicks, A., and Napier, H.: Artful-Geoscience: Co-Creating Urban Subsurface Futures? A discussion and an invitation. , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6512, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6512, 2021.

Meet the authors in their breakout text chats

Wed, 28 Apr, 11:00–12:30

Chairpersons: Kelly Stanford, Louise Arnal

Francis Pope and Robin Price

Anthropogenic contamination of the atmosphere is causing both climate change and air pollution, which respectively represent the greatest long term and short term environmental risks to human and planetary health. The contamination is largely invisible and hence difficult to contextualise for non-expert audiences. This can lead to the problem being ignored; or where it is acknowledged, leading to feelings of helplessness and a lack of agency.

This project uses digital light painting to visualise and explore responses to particulate matter (PM) air pollution, in a variety of global locations, as a method for both public engagement and campaign work. This photographic technique combines long exposure with light sources digitally controlled by sensors, it builds upon the prior work of electronic pioneer Steve Mann (e.g. Mann et al. 2019) and more recent work visualising wifi strength (Arnall et al. 2013).

The five year art-science collaboration between Price and Pope has been highly successful. The Air of the Anthropocene project resulted in multiple gallery shows (including Los Angeles, Belfast and Birmingham). The media publicized it heavily, including Source Magazine, New Scientist and the Guardian. The physical art works were acquired by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s public collection.

In this presentation, we will highlight the scientific and aesthetic underpinnings of the use of low cost air pollution sensors for data visualisation through light painting. Locations for visualizations were guided by expert advice from environmental scientists in global locations, including those in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. In this sense the science informed the art. Also, since the code from the project ended being used by scientists, the art informed the science (e.g. Crilley et al. 2018).

We will highlight the efficacy of this image making approach as an engagement and advocacy tool, through case studies of its use in field campaigns in Ethiopia (2020) and Kampala (2018), investigating both indoor and outdoor air pollution.  Future possibilities of the approach to air pollution visualization will be discussed. This will include expanding the approach through open sourcing the project and its adaptation beyond lens based techniques into augmented reality camera phone use.

The projected next phase of the collaboration will work towards empowering interested citizens of the world to make their own creative, aesthetic representations of their environment and use these images as citizen activists to affect transformational change in their own localities. Through adopting open source methodologies it is hoped that sustainability beyond the timescale and budget of the initial project with lasting legacy will be achieved.


Arnall et al, 2013. Immaterials: light painting WiFi. Significance, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-9713.2013.00683.x 

Crilley et al, 2018. Evaluation of a low-cost optical particle counter (Alphasense OPC-N2) for ambient air monitoring. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-709-2018 

Mann et al 2019, June. Making Sensors Tangible with Long-exposure Photography. In The 5th ACM Workshop on Wearable Systems and Applications. https://doi.org/10.1145/3325424.3329668

How to cite: Pope, F. and Price, R.: Air of the Anthropocene, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2255, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-2255, 2021.

Fiona Gill and Naomi Bailey-Cooper

Dr Naomi Bailey-Cooper, a fashion textiles designer, and Dr Fiona Gill, a geochemist and palaeontologist, are exploring ways of communicating changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration through geological time and in the future, and its relationship to life on Earth, visually and haptically through beadwork installations.


This collaboration, initially enabled through the Leeds Creative Labs programme at the University of Leeds, draws on the scientist’s research into chemical signatures preserved in fossils to contextualise the scale and effect of carbon cycling in the Earth system. The artist’s expertise in embellishment, combined with her focus on the environmental impact of fashion and textile production, has driven the physical structure of the proposed works, as well as the focus on future scenarios of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.


Working with geological materials and yarn representative of CO2, variations of knitting and weaving techniques are explored in combination with embellishment. The aim is that the first artefact for installation will depict changing CO2 levels through the Phanerozoic eon, as well as reflecting key species at different time periods and their interactions with changing atmospheric conditions. The second artefact will explore in more depth the Quaternary period, including human history and the Anthropocene, as well as incorporating predictions for future atmospheric CO2 concentrations and linking those to comparable geological times. Together, these artefacts will invite the audience to consider humans’ impact on Earth, including their use and exploitation of natural resources, within a geological context.


How to cite: Gill, F. and Bailey-Cooper, N.:  The carbon story: A textile-geoscience collaboration to represent changing atmospheric CO2 concentrations through time, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6245, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6245, 2021.

Louise Arnal et al.

Water is life and so water-related challenges, such as droughts, floods and water quality degradation, affect everyone. Conceptualizing water-related environmental and social problems in novel ways, with engagement between the public and science researchers, may lead to new and more comprehensive solutions to complex problems. A society that makes decisions informed by science and science that approaches problems in a transdisciplinary manner are key elements in finding creative and holistic solutions to the water-related challenges we all face. We believe that art can help co-establish new social norms to help us grasp and tackle water-related challenges in a more holistic manner.

The Virtual Water Gallery* is a science and art pilot project funded by Global Water Futures (GWF). GWF is a University of Saskatchewan-led research program that is funded in part by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. Its overarching goal is to deliver risk management solutions, informed by leading-edge water science, to manage water futures in Canada and other cold regions where global warming is changing landscapes, ecosystems and the water environment. Launched in Summer 2020, the Virtual Water Gallery aims to provide a safe, inclusive and collaborative space for fully open discussions between scientists, artists, and a wider public, to explore past, present and future water challenges.

As part of this pilot project, 13 artists were paired with teams of GWF scientists to co-explore specific water challenges in various Canadian ecoregions and river basins, including the Arctic, the mountains, boreal forests, prairies, farmlands, lakes, rivers, and communities. These collaborations are leading to the co-creation of science and art pieces which will be exhibited online on a Virtual Water Gallery. By making this online exhibition accessible to a global audience, we hope that the co-created art pieces will open creative and informative discussions about urgent water challenges to a wider audience via the gallery space.

*More information about the Virtual Water Gallery on the GWF webpage: https://gwf.usask.ca/outreach/virtual-water-gallery.php

How to cite: Arnal, L., Clark, M., Dumanski, S., and Pomeroy, J.: The Virtual Water Gallery: a collaborative science and art project, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6367, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-6367, 2021.

Jesús Enrique Martínez Martín
Victor Leshyk

As the Anthropocene progresses into more and more dire territory, research continues to refine quantifiable, predictive narratives about the changes that will unfold in the very near future — heat waves, droughts, rising seas, and other shifts in climate that threaten aspects of human life worldwide, from agriculture and industry to medicine and human quality of life as a whole.  This evolving, cross-referenced narrative should create a perfect warning to correct our course on carbon emissions, our ongoing ecosystem damage from modern agriculture, and other effects tied to current unsustainable practices such as overuse of fossil fuels and reliance on plastic materials.  

However, when these science narratives are placed directly in the spotlight of press and social media, they often merge into a large uncompelling whole, much as many unique and attractive bricks together might combine to create a uniform and ominous wall. The end result is audience disengagement in the face of daunting information. 

This effect is so substantiated that studies now recommend that science communicators should avoid “intimidating” and “demoralizing” global audiences with vivid Anthropocene scenarios, and instead focus on creating less-threatening “feel-good” engagement that can serve as a bridge to positive public action that supports renewable energy, organic agriculture, and other corrective changes to the societal footprint.  

As a professional science communicator, I reject the advice to avoid painting an ever more clear portrait of the Anthropocene: I believe the problem that “demoralizes” the public is not Anthropocene content, but poor presentation, often driven by journalistic trends to sensationalize future apocalyptic scenarios that create titillating fear.  Through my work, I rely not so much on creating a fascination with doomsday scenarios but instead create a fascination with the detailed mechanisms by which the Anthropocene is forcing change: by thawing permafrost, threatening forests, destroying biodiversity, all the while showing how these processes fit within the context of deep time.  With a rich deep time perspective, viewers can see why the Anthropocene is such a distortion of natural ecosystem services, and how human technology and habits could instead be changed to work within the carrying capacity of earth systems.

In this presentation, I share my science illustration portfolio to explain my unique approach that fuses the charisma of “fine art” approaches using metaphor, hyper-realism, and didactic compositions with new research findings to reach beyond sensationalist Anthropocene imagery and create a new visual vocabulary for ecosystem research that unites experts and lay public with a common scientific worldview. I have given this personal philosophy of creative science illustration the name “Accurate Passion” and employ it for a range of topics and clients, including my in-house colleagues at a university research center focusing on ecosystem science, and graduate-level students of my university-level science illustration courses for the past three years.

How to cite: Leshyk, V.: The Importance of an Artistic Lens to Assess the Anthropocene, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7652, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7652, 2021.

Katie Parsons et al.

The Holderness has some of the most rapidly eroding coastline in the world, with sections of cliff retreating >10m per year. These rates are due, in large part, to the soft composition of the boulder clay cliffs, but rates are accelerating rapidly in response to climate drivers, particularly storminess and sea-level rise, which is increasing wave loading.

Withernsea High is a local community school situated close to the eroding cliffs and thus the school students see the day-to-day effects of their changing coastline.  Many of these pupils live within the communities that have ongoing threats of retreating cliffs, with many properties already lost into the sea.

The INSECURE project has used a matrix of participatory research methods to explore how young people engage, examine and understand coastal change within the context of their place within communities. Students were engaged in an education programme to skill them with knowledge and capability to capture their stories and the narratives of their communities. As such this study has been fully youth-led and participants have collected a suite of intergenerational stories from members of the community and the long-term impacts of coastal change. After analysing their data, the young people are using their voice to retell these stories using a variety of creative storytelling methods in order to re-engage their audiences. The outputs are a range of creative short stories, poems and photographs that enable these stories to be told through the eyes of youth.

The outcomes of this project will raise awareness and understanding of coastal change and how communities live with these natural processes that are being exacerbated by climate change and will also measure the impact of the project in addressing climate change knowledge and fostering engagement with the environment and broader social action within the communities.

How to cite: Parsons, K., Halstead, F., and Jones, L.: INtergenerational Stories of Erosion and Coastal community Understanding of REsilience ‘INSECURE’, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9478, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9478, 2021.

Renate C.-Z.-Quehenberger

The Gaia hypothesis as an ecological hypothesis is proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis. Although successful within the current scientific paradigm the explanation of „planetary sentience, or sensitivity“ becomes extremely difficult. As Hegel said, pure truth about nature is only perceivable by a poetic method.

Therefor we are proclaiming Gaia, the Earth as a female artist -- as advocated by 16th century scholar Giordano Bruno. This would imply to include such nonscientific categories as beauty, creativity and cosmic consciousness. Hence a unified Gaia theory would require a new scientific paradigm.

Based on a previously proposed higher dimensional spacial model  (Gaia 5.0) as „pattern that connects“ that explains the Earth’ intrinsic dynamics we aim to extend  our concept to the question of cognition and planetary sentience, or sensitivity. 

Hence we claim that  Gaia theory needs an extension of categories in order to understand the full scope of this spectacular place of livelihood and beauty.

Therefor we examine he prevalent relational biology that tries to overcome Newtonian point mechanics by relying on Aristotle’s „formal causes“ of the autopoietic organization and (M,R)-system as conceptualized by R. Rosen who refers to a mathematical structure, e.g. mapping of functions. Distinct to differential geometry we suggest as previously introduced higher dimensional geometrical framework (Gaia 5.0) a hyper-Euclidean geometry that allows to understand complex systems based on group theory providing all kinds of symmetries in nature based on a spacial continuum.

As a consequence we must not rely on thermodynamic premisses and life and tornados don’t belong to the same class of naturally complex systems. Instead we refer to Schrödinger’s description of a living cell as 4-dimensional entity. Based on complex number spaces we may seek  for further distinctions of processes and define ordered structures based on number theory.

Based on this we try to understand anticipatory systems by assigning Bayesian networks to (hyper-) complex number spaces. -- Hence Gaia is not playing dice but takes a random walk in Monte Carlo.

How to cite: C.-Z.-Quehenberger, R.: Gaia the artist --  towards a unified higher-dimensional paradigm of life and beauty, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7709, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-7709, 2021.

Michael Passow

Eric Sloane was a 20th century artist who created a unique style and provided interesting, idiosyncratic, and informative images of clouds. He was the author of many books, but also created massive cloud murals, including one on an entire wall at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC. Sloane became interested in clouds when he flew as a passenger with some of the pioneers of aviation, including Amelia Earhart and Wiley Post. He also became weatherwise through his early employment as a painter of advertisements on yje sides of  barns, allowing him to observe many aspects of weather. Sloane received many awards for his contributions to science, including a special award from the American Meteorological Society in 185 for  “for pioneering contributions to public awareness of clouds, their beauty, complexity, and scientific importnace; for an artistic legacy to all who feel a sense of wonder when they look at a cloud filled sky.”

How to cite: Passow, M.: "Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather"  The art and science of Eric Cloane, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9247, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9247, 2021.

Nicole Archer

What is your relationship with river? This was the central question posed by a series of creative practice workshops with scientists and local authorities who worked with complex flood risk management issues. Many of the flood mitigating solutions offered to managers are based on scientific methods to control and reduce river flooding. Scientific methods not only provide a sense of control towards river dynamics, but also develop a sense of security for people to feel safe from water. Because of climate change, flood events are increasing globally and some countries, like Scotland, are seeking to expand the possibilities of coping with extreme weather through broader, more holistic ways to mitigate flooding.

The aim of this study was to bridge rational knowledge often associated with scientific methods and the tacit knowledge that might emerge through participative art. The creative potential of art and participation in art practice was employed in collaboration with scientists and policy makers to inform future solutions towards flood mitigation.

The research used the theoretical premises described in what Irwin (2013) describes as a/r/tography: “drawing upon the professional practices of educators, artists, and researchers, it entangles and performs what Deleuze and Guattari (1987) refer to as a rhizome, an assemblage of objects, ideas, and structures that move in dynamic motion performing waves of intensities that create new understandings.” (p.199). Unlike the outcome and target driven aims of scientific methodology, these “waves of intensities” are crucial to understanding the form of intersubjective work which is crucial for art and creativity in art practice, because this is where affective transformation of meaning and understanding happens, through sensing, feeling and perceiving.

In the case of these creative practice workshops, the transformation that was explored was a shift from anthropocentric thinking about water to non-anthropocentric thought, achieved through sensing, feeling and perceiving. The creative practice workshops at the Scotland flood management conference 2020 were part of a larger process, where the intent was to initiate a transformative process that would work towards developing different ways of thinking in terms of Flood Risk Management. The process began with an artistic engagement with the river and the development of underwater film of rivers. This was followed by two participatory workshops. The next step consisted of an artistic response to the creative process undertaken by the participants. The last step was an engagement with water management policy makers. This will be further discussed in terms of a transformative process between artist and scientist.

How to cite: Archer, N.: We are all tributaries: combining art and science to transform human relationship with rivers., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13360, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13360, 2021.

Anna Hicks et al.

Landscapes of the Mind

Anna Hicks1

Carol Cotterill2, 1

Nicole Archer1, 3


1British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, UK

2Columbia University, New York, USA

3Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK


What comes to mind when you think of landscape? Do you imagine sweeping mountain vistas and picturesque scenery? Or perhaps a bustling urban scene simultaneously concealing and revealing its present and historical narratives? Of course, both are logical, as would be any number of visualisations in between. The landscapes we inhabit are constantly recording both man-made and natural changes occurring in it, and on it, and so on us.

Therefore, our beliefs and emotions framing our worldview are shaped by landscape in many ways, and so play a powerful role in making decisions and judgements about how a landscape should be used. Creative expression through art and narrative can influence decision-making by bringing those emotional responses to a landscape to the fore.

In this paper, we share our experiences to date from collaborations through the AHRC-funded network “Landscapes of the Mind”. The network aims to develop understanding and communication of landscape challenges in Scotland, with a view to informing decision making about landscape change. Network participants are from diverse backgrounds: musicians to metalworkers, archaeologists to anthropologists; our commonality is in how we bear witness to the evolution of Scotland's landscape from our different perspectives, particularly the balance between landscape conservation and adaptation to changing culture, communities and societal needs.

The network was established shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis so network participants, many of whom are new to working together, are exploring how the virtual space can influence and bolster the process of interdisciplinarity in-action, and bring new insights to the fore. Our attempt to flourish under current conditions has seen us adapt the visual-matrix - a psycho-social method with arts-practice - to the virtual space. This adapted approach brings together participants to engage in creative expressions online; expressions created by participants in relation to a particular theme. The creations, from photos, to poetry, to music, build the frame for the matrix, and act as a stimulus for participants to bring their associations to the material. 

We will report on the findings from the first two matrices on Landscape and Water, and Landscape and Time, showing how the methodology allowed us to explore fluidity and place, time and space, as well as the benefits and challenges of communicating thoughts through digital means.


How to cite: Hicks, A., Cotterill, C., and Manley, N.: Landscapes of the Mind, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13523, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13523, 2021.

Clarissa Wright and Robert James Wright

Effective and engaging science communication with the wider public is a growing need worldwide, particularly regarding pressing environmental issues. As over half of the population are visual learners, it can be argued that visual arts have an important role to play in science communication (scicomm), when supplemented with clear, understandable writing. Scientists seldom have the opportunity to share their backgrounds and personal perspectives in academic publications, or to share their particular study niches outside of academia. A similar communication gap is also experienced by independent artists seeking to share their ideas and creations with a wider audience.

NatureVolve is a digital magazine that was launched in 2018 to bridge the gaps between science, the arts and worldwide audiences. It was founded by Clarissa Wright after her BSc and MSc studies in geology, and her previous role as an Assistant Editor at Springer Nature. The publication is divided into the sections: Science, Conservation, Scicomm, Art and Written Word. Diverse subjects, ideas and creations, all adhering to the common theme of nature, are artistically presented across these sections. By merging these different subjects on the one platform, the project is encouraging the fusion of (usually segregated) disciplines across the arts and the sciences. By also presenting the researchers behind the studies, and the artists behind the artwork, readers access a more personalised perspective of the subjects being shared.

NatureVolve occupies a unique place within both scientific and arts publishing. Articles take on a journalistic press release format or interview article, which allows greater depth to be drawn from the subject being discussed and the ideas of the interviewees. Prominent subjects highlighted are on the pressing matters of the times: including wildlife conservation, plastic pollution, marine conservation, climate change and medical science. Geology and the earth sciences have often featured in the Science section and even the Scicomm section where palaeoart is a popular topic.

The emphasis on the people behind the discipline brings out a more personalised touch to the magazine, previously not often seen in other publications. Creativity is what links the scientists and artists, exploring their thought processes, inspirations, all fuelled by an interest in the natural world its connection to human society. With high impact visual content, it is aimed to increase the awareness of science studies and creative artwork, while celebrating nature. Magazine pages are presented with a concise and colourful aesthetic with the aim of showing the art of the sciences and the science of the arts.

As the Earth is the key theme for NatureVolve – encompassing the natural world, human society and the impact we have on the planet, it is hoped we can raise awareness of key global issues through science, art and the written word. The motivations and perspectives of the creative individuals and research groups involved in this quest are brought into the spotlight, to inspire others.


How to cite: Wright, C. and Wright, R. J.: Uniting science and art to appreciate the Earth with NatureVolve magazine, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16065, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-16065, 2021.

Meet the authors in their breakout text chats

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