Thanks for the great discussion, everyone! I really enjoyed Roger's reply.
As a field station manager, not a scientist, I would point out that some of
our scientists work with artists simply because we ask them to.
Most (if not all) scientists grasp the importance of outreach about their
work, though they often have no capacity to effect it. Being able to plug
into something we are already doing is really low-hanging fruit for them,
which they can later use in their grant reporting.
Field stations have always served to connect people who otherwise wold
never work together. As we look to increase participation in art/science
collaborations, I think it's important to look at ways to institutionalize
these relationships, rather than just hope they form spontaneously. The
Broader Impacts requirement from NSF (and other granting institutions) is a
clear and resistance-free path to engage scientists with artists. Once that
initial contact happens, the Intellectual Merits of these collaborations
will emerge organically...at least that's what we're banking on!
Faerthen Felix, Asst. Manager
Sagehen Creek Field Station
Truckee, CA 96160
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