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Artists collaborate with academics at the University of York

Posted on 30 November 2015

The University of York has appointed six artists to work alongside academics to produce a body of work inspired by their research in biomedicine and human health.

Artist Jacob van der Beugel

This innovative Artist in Residence Scheme will establish a powerful creative collaboration between artist and researcher that will encourage further interdisciplinary research.

The initiative is funded by the University’s Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2) which is itself co-funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Deborah Smith, said: “The Artist in Residence Scheme pays tribute to the long-standing tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration at York. This tradition has recently been reinforced by the appointment of seven Research Champions to drive forward interdisciplinary research on global challenges.”

The Director of C2D2, Professor Alex Wade, said:  “The quality of the applications and the enthusiasm with which researchers across science, social science and humanities departments have responded to enquiries from the artists is a compelling confirmation of how much both artists and academics are interested in such interdisciplinary and challenging collaborations.“

Deputy Director, Dr Sandra Pauletto, added: “The innovative works that will be produced by this scheme will allow us to perceive and understand health and science concepts in new, unexpected ways."

The internationally-recognised awardees include four visual artists, a composer and a poet. They will work across eight University Departments ranging from Biology to Theatre, Film and Television.

Dr Christy Ducker is inspired by the research of the Biology Department and Hull York Medical School that focuses on how wounds heal. Her residency will culminate in the publication of ten original poems, and two film-poems. In addition, Christy will run ‘Poetry and Science’ workshops, encouraging the public to engage with biomedicine through creative writing.

Jacob van der Beugel will highlight the work of the Epidemiology and Cancer Statistics Group (ECSG) to create a wall relief installation using ceramics and concrete.  His work will embrace the metaphor of concrete cancer. The artist completed a major interior commission inspired by genetics at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire last year.

Peter Myers aims to gain an insight into cutting edge research conducted in the Department of Psychology into autism and language-processing difficulties induced by stroke. He will draw on this research and the experiences of participants to create arresting visual works of art.  He will work with York students who run ‘Artistic Autistic’, a York-based Community Interest Company, to conduct workshops with stroke support groups and local schools.

Laurence Payot will create a computer game to explore the concept of symbiosis. In the game, two players situated in different geographical locations will be able to connect by transforming the shape of interactive virtual sculptures, as if touching them in real life. This innovative piece of work aims to question contemporary health and wellbeing and how digital technologies affect our psyche.

Mark Fell will explore hearing and will bring together four experts to stimulate awareness of issues relating to hearing, communication, deafness and implant technologies. His project will consist of a number of sculptural objects that integrate sound, light and physical forms. These will be controlled by a computer producing sound and lighting patterns.

Anna Dumitriu will explore the urgent issue of antibiotic resistance and the research being undertaken at the University of York in the hunt for new antimicrobials.  The project will include textiles, sculpture, digital technology, and bacterial bioart, that uses the tools and techniques of microbiology as an artistic medium.

The work of all these artists will be showcased locally and nationally at venues including York Art Gallery and FACT in Liverpool and at festivals including the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind and York’s own Festival of Ideas in June next year. The artists will also engage directly with the public through talks and workshops and use online, print and broadcast media to reach a wider audience.

Further information:

  • The University of York is committed to research into alleviating the world-wide burden of chronic diseases and disorders. With the support of the Wellcome Trust through the Institutional Strategic Support Scheme, the University has established the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders to coordinate and maximise the impact of research in this key interdisciplinary field.
  • The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. It supports bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

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