From: Jill Scott
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 13:26:14 +0100
Dear Susan and Suzanne,
Just a thought and hopefully we can extract some parts to share now in relation to SECTION 2-the artists in labs section or pick it up another time!
I dont necessarily want to put a spanner in the works but one of the things I would have liked to bring up in relation to this section is
the obvious gender imbalance in the hard sciences and the problems women artists might encounter in such environments.
In Europe as elsewhere it seems that entirely new creative approaches as well as relational and societal impact assessments are sorely needed to entice women to become more interested in the hard sciences. Last year, our artists-in-labs project team conducted a gender survey with Arts Catalyst (http://www.artscatalyst.org/index.html) in London and The Art and Genomics Centre in Amsterdam (http://www.artsgenomics.org/) Differing attitudes towards creativity seem to be the cause of an enormous gender imbalance in many Northern European countries, especially in biological systems, biotechnology, computer science, physics and engineering departments (The Helsinki Group on Women and Science. http://www.cordis.lu/improving/women/helsinki.htm).
Of course, in relation to this science and gender discourse, the science writers in the US are leaders in the field. For example, in Evelyn Fox Keller’s book ('The Century of the Gene' (2000 Harvard University Press) she proclaimed that the few women who are engaged in genetic research always provide a much "more creative social approach". The science question in feminism has also been raised very thoroughly by Sandra Harding (1986). The Science question in Feminism. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press) Harding clearly states: "Perhaps we should turn to our novelists and our artists for a better grasp of what we need, because they are professionally less conditioned than we (scientists) to respond point by point to a culture's defences of ways of being in the world." She claims that artists who acquire solid information about science bring very sensitive issues to the public for scrutiny.
Currently we are in the process of forming “ARTSACTIVE”, a worldwide Art and Science Network (http://www.artsactive.net/), which can explore solutions to the issue of shared creativity by training more artists in science. Perhaps, we can also harness the potentials of trans-disciplinary practice to involve women in more creative approaches to science.
If mature women artists were trained in scientific fields, could they produce mediated art and design works that emphasise the creative potentials of scientific inquiry?
Could these artworks then be distributed to art departments in secondary schools, where alternative role models are sorely lacking?
Cheers and love to hear both your comments?
Prof. Dr. Jill Scott
Institute for Cultural Studies,
University of Applied Arts
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