Why art and science?



I have spent over 30 years working as a scientist, mainly at UK universities.  I am now based in the School of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University in NW England. Spent my career studying  relationships between microbes, plants and animals. I teach microbiology and tropical medicine. But always been a bit frustrated at the silo aspect of university science research and teaching. We need specialists but we also need people who can work across disciplines.  In the past 10 years I have become increasingly interested in generating a dialogue between the arts and biosciences to create new imaginings in both art and science research. This aspect is now spreading through my work as a lecturer teaching bioscience but also my research and engagement  activities.

I am interested in the STEAM  concept. See a great article about STEAM. I don’t see any other way forward but to remerge and work together with arts and sciences. There will always be room for the ultra specialist but we need to be comfortable working alongside our arts colleagues.  But the emergence of AI is forcing us to think about the nature of jobs and careers for next generation of graduates. I see creativity as the pinnacle of the human experience and something that AI will not (?) be easily be able mimic. I am concerned about the lack of teaching and thought around the creative process in the biosciences.  A group of us, particularly Jen Southern , Ross Dalziel,    Hwa Young Jung are developing several strands within Lancaster University and NW UK to embed the  ‘A’ in STEM.

This site presents my personal views, opinions and  interests in science creativity and art and how I am working within and between the boundaries of the two.  There will be very few posts on my current research on the tropical disease leishmaniasis and the insects (sand flies) that spread the disease and my interests in microbes. I will mainly be posting about my workshops and collaborations, where artists are working  on an equal footing and in close collaboration with scientists.

These are our aims to stimulate arts-bioscience interaction at Lancaster and with like-minded groups and individuals in the NW UK and worldwide.

  • To provide a suitable environment for creative investigators to share exploration into the hybrid area between art and bio-sciences either in blue-sky research, teaching, development or creative production.
  • To find new ways to stimulate innovative experiential learning experiences for science and arts students, professionals and the general public.
  • To create high quality art through creative experimentation informed by current concepts in the biosciences.


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