Art/Science and Interdisciplinarity research

There has been a growing culture of ‘Art/Science’ or ‘SciArt’ in the UK, largely related to the SciArt programme, which emerged in the mid-1990s and was funded by the Wellcome Trust (Wellcome Trust 1999). The SciArt programme coincided with a move towards interdisciplinary collaboration between the arts and sciences, and encouraged greater flexibility.

The SciArt programme describes the assumptions on which the two cultures of art and science work as profoundly alien to each other; scientists are perceived as more likely to work according to a set of axioms for/against some hypothesis and are nominally bound by the scientific method, whereas artists are generally perceived to have more freedom to explore unconventional questions and critique the media that they are using. 

Cornwall Morphology and Drawing Centre, 2015. Photograph by Gemma Anderson.

As the SciArt programme came to an end in 2005, the broader Art/Science movement was defended and illustrated by Leonardo - the journal itself as well as the creative and institutional network that the journal’s editor built around it. The recent book Art, Science, and Cultural Understanding demonstrates that a real dialogue is now possible between art and science, partly because scientists themselves have become more aware of issues and problems, such as the limitations of truth systems or objectivity (Wilson et al, 2014).

On the back of these developments, Art/Science has emerged as a popular theme in contemporary art. GV Art gallery is a hub for collaborations between artists and scientists, as seen in the 2011 exhibition Art & Science: Merging Art and Science to Make a Revolutionary New Art Movement, exhibiting artists such as Oron Catts and Annie Catrell were accompanied by a panel discussion moderated by Arthur Miller.

Cornwall Morphology and Drawing Centre, 2015. Photograph by Gemma Anderson.

Examples of drawing practice presented on this page have observed, adopted, adapted, appropriated, intervened and critiqued the non-art disciplines of the life sciences (especially morphology) and mathematics in both practice and theory for the purpose of furthering an artistic practice that offers new methods and analogies back to science.

Although the Art/Science Movement is understood as a contemporary movement in art and in education, it has a history. Paul Klee (1879 - 1940), an artist and teacher at the Bauhaus School, and Goethe (1749 - 1832), a poet, morphologist and statesman, both pioneered an interdisciplinary approach through the study of natural form. The contemporary notion of ‘Art/Science’ can be regarded as a rediscovery of an approach that is not in itself new but rather one that many, like Goethe and Klee, have practised before.

Drawing research exploring connection between art and science.

The Cornwall Morphology and Drawing Centre


The experience of working in both artistic and scientific contexts led artist and researcher Dr.Gemma Anderson to develop the ‘Cornwall Morphology and Drawing Centre’ (CMADC), a space that brings practices, questions, knowledge and objects of art and science together. CMADC has provided a live testing ground for sharing Anderson’s unique drawing practices of Isomorphology, the Goethe drawing method, and Isomorphogenesis with the public. In this respect, CMADC contributes to contemporary practices that consider artwork as an educational medium, as associated with the ‘Educational Turn’.

Cornwall Morphology and Drawing Centre, 2015. Photograph by Gemma Anderson.

SURVIVAL RELATIONSHIPS (Symbiosis State) 2009 – Present

A project exploring and investigating how the idea of symbiosis can be embodied through an intensive drawing relationship interconnecting evolutionary biology, consciousness, philosophy, and the imagination. By combining experiential and rational knowledge systems together within drawings, artist Amber Stucke appropriates from visual taxonomies to create conversations between local knowledge systems of the human body and scientific classification structures.

This page was written and curated by Dr.Gemma Anderson.