Sunday, January 15, 2017

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Is STEM art good enough?

As many of you know I'm an artist who has worked closely with scientists and engineers since the early 1970's over a wide range of discipline areas in Europe, Australia and the USA. Although much of this work was in pragmatic application areas (for example visualisation and aids for visually challenged people) the main benefit for me and for the scientists/engineers I have worked with was the value of different perspectives and this was especially true in the early planning stages of a project/experiment.

To give an example - it's common for artists and designers to be given the output data of an experiment and asked to enhance it's ability to communicate (for whatever reason - publication, education, grant applications, PCST, PR, etc…). My experience is that involving them in the planning stages can significantly enhance both the process and efficiency of the experiment as well as the intrinsic value of the outcomes and their ability to communicate.

So attempting to measure the value of an outcome - "Is STEM art good enough?" - is in my opinion a mistaken evaluation and is in fact counterproductive and retrogressive. For over half a century the contemporary art world has engaged with the idea that value is embedded in the process and not just - if at all - in the outcome. This is why we should be engaging artists- and scientists-in-residence on a permanent and ongoing basis and not just just on the assumption of a singular artwork outcome.

As someone who retired from teaching some time ago I would hope that this kind of approach - which emphasises the process over the outcome - would inform STEAM education.

Thank you for the opportunity of commenting.

Paul Brown ==
UK Mobile +44 (0)794 104 8228
Skype paul-g-brown
Honorary Visiting Professor - Sussex University

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