Enquiry on exhibit: Enlisting art to help communicate science

Science Gallery, Dublin
Science Gallery, Dublin (Photo credit: eadaoin_o_sullivan)

I’ve always been a bit skeptical about science communication that uses art. For me, neuroscience has always been interesting enough without anyone needing to crochet a woolen brain, and I guess my natural inclination is towards the written word rather than visual display when it comes to science – where’s the room for detail and specifics in artistic representations of science?

I think I’ve perhaps been a little too dismissive, though. I recently recorded an episode of Up Close with Dr Michael John Gorman, director of Science Gallery, a science-meets-art project at Trinity College Dublin. Gorman talks about the risks of infantilizing science – something you see a lot of in traditional science museums that seem to forget about anyone above the age of about 12 – and discusses how bringing science and art together can foster debate and innovation in both fields.

Aside from anything else, he convinced me of two things – I need to check out Science Gallery when I’m next in Dublin, and Michael John possibly has one of the coolest jobs in science communication.