Center Funds Eight SciArt Collaborations

This image is an artistic rendering of a fish, fish eggs, and people. There's a lot of blue, with eggs in yellow, and the people are sketched in black.
Artist Hiromi Okumura is working with researchers Emmanuel Frimpong and Eugene Maurakis. Her rendering of a bluehead chub, its eggs, and researchers appeared in Virginia Tech’s daily news email feature “Doodles at the very bottom of the email.” Image courtesy of Hiromi Okumura.

Thirteen artists. Thirteen scientists. One Zoom room. And so many great ideas!

On May 17 a group of diverse-minded, goal-oriented, and straight-up fun people spent a whole day being guided through exercises that explored each participant’s field of interest. From talks of fostering community engagement to discussing the evolutionary psychology of Bluehead Chubs, the 26 Collaboration Incubator participants were led through a cornucopia of cognitive workouts that sought to inspire interdisciplinary project proposals.

Facilitated by Center for Communicating Science (CCS) faculty and funded by Virginia Tech’s Center for Coastal Studies and Equity and Social Disparity in the Human Condition destination area, the Collaboration Incubator brought together researchers and artists for collaboration skills-building exercises, opportunities to learn about one another’s work, and time and space to incubate ideas. The cohort was led by director of the CCS, Patty Raun, associate director Carrie Kroehler, and center faculty fellow Daniel Bird Tobin.

Think of it as a creative mixer from which, after only the first few exercises, ideas for collaborations were already being zapped into existence. As someone new to the process, it was very cool to see!

Collaborators will work together for the next several months to create their arts performances and exhibits. We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Funded projects include

Multi-sensory SciArt Expo for Neurodiverse Learners

Description: Collaborators will seek out community partners and use aerial arts, dance, and live chemistry-related demonstrations to blend mediums that engage children. The project has a specific focus on engaging neurodiverse students.

Collaborators: Lynsey Grace-Wyatt, John Matson

Artistic Exploration of Childhood Cognitive Development

Description: A compositional piece of poetry and song created from the responses of children viewing stimuli videos that feature women graduate researchers talking about science.

Collaborators: Vanessa Diaz, Zach Duer, Erika Meitner, Charles Nichols, Ariana Wyatt

Multimedia Art Installation on Impacts of Invasive Plant Species

Description: To create a multimedia, multi-sensory art installation to illuminate the socio-ecological impacts of invasive plant species in Appalachia. This work will use video, sound, and sculpture to explore both the connection between people and invasive plants and the consequences of the unchecked spread of these species.

Collaborators: Jacob Barney, David Franusich

Aerial Performance on North Atlantic Climate Change Impacts

Description: A site-specific aerial performance related to climate change and storm impacts in North Atlantic coastal communities. Target outcomes include raising awareness for climate change and storm-related impacts on coastal communities and the associated need for research and an increase in STEM workforce.

Collaborators: Lynsey Grace-Wyatt, Nina Stark

Art Performance of Conversations on Alternate Economic Ideas

Description: A performance-based multimedia installation based on conversations about alternative economic models that incorporates elements of forum and devised theatre to engage audiences and invested parties.

Collaborators: Steven Licardi, Ralph Hall

Dance Training Workshop for Engineering Students

Description: A semester-long workshop series that uses dance training and movement exercises to help engineering graduate students feel more comfortable with the unpredictable conditions they may encounter in the field.

Collaborators: Rachel Rugh, Nina Stark

Deerfield Trail Exploration and Soundwalk

Description: A summer of arts-based exploration that will enable the team to get to know one another, to immerse themselves in the field, and to bring visitors of Deerfield Trail into a creative process.

Collaborators: Emmanuel Frimpong, Eugene Maurakis, Hiromi Okumura, Courtney Surmanek

Recording Piece on Women’s Rhetorical Agency in Disaster Response

Description: A 5- to 15-minute recorded piece that introduces the importance and significance of women’s rhetorical agency in responding to the 2015 Nepal Earthquake and other disaster situations.

Collaborators: Sweta Baniya, Daniel Bird Tobin

Congratulations to all grant recipients! We’ll be providing project updates and letting readers know about opportunities to interact with the products of these collaborations.

By Gabriel Velazquez, Center for Communicating Science summer graduate assistant

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