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28/07/2017

This article appeared in The Herald of 28 July 2017 written by Zamandulo Malonde.

To pave the way leading up to National Science Week, the Nelson Mandela University’s departments of Visual Arts and Botany hosted a half-day of activities meant to bridge the gap between art and science.

Picture: MARCUS NEUSTETTER PLACE FOR ALL: Dr Alastair Potts, left, from the Department of Botany, engages with participants in the Art meets Science meets Place encounter at the Nelson Mandela University’s Bird Street campus and Trinder Square as part of the National Science Week 2017 pre-launch programme

The Art meets Science meets Place intervention was held at the Bird Street campus on Tuesday and facilitated by NMU academics Mary Duker, Alastair Potts and the adjunct professor in the NMU Visual Arts department, Marcus Neustetter.

“This intervention was about looking at how artists and scientists can, together, connect to a place and think about and make sense of it, and to consider how they can work in trans-disciplinary ways to find solutions to real world problems,” Neustetter said.

“Our intention was to see how we could work alongside the participants, who included professors from different disciplines, and fine art, photography, science and education students, and encourage them to consider the challenges facing society from different disciplinary perspectives, and to see the world through one another’s eyes,” Neustetter said.

He said the event was one of an ongoing series of similar events he and his colleagues had facilitated over the years, aimed at breaking down the barriers between science and art.

“Today’s society is so bound by categories that we need to be stimulated to think about how to shift that perception.”

The programme consisted of a series of presentations about global art-science initiatives, and a creative encounter in the neighbouring Trinder Square, after which the participants met in the university’s Bird Street gallery and exchanged ideas about ways in which the art-science-place project could be extended and developed.

NMU science student Nehemiah Latolla said such interventions were useful in highlighting the commonalities between science and art, and in turn using them to the advantage of a world that was a space in which the two disciplines could meet.

Contact information
Dr Alastair Potts
Senior Lecturer and NRF Research Career Advancement Fellow
Tel: 082 491-7275 / 041 504-2396
Alastair.Potts@mandela.ac.za