University celebrates collaboration between art and research

The University's art centre The Edge joined with Arts Council England for a special event on Tuesday 31 October, looking at collaboration between art and research and its success stories.

The event was designed as an opportunity to reflect on the question of collaboration and how it can benefit researchers professionally, address themes and problems that are important to society and lead to cultural advances.

It was attended by Bath researchers and creatives; alongside guest speakers from the Wellcome Trust; Arts Catalyst; the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement; and artists Mat Collishaw, Aowen Jin and Jean Baynham.

As the University’s arts and creativity hub, The Edge has helped to develop the appetite for collaborative working on campus since it opened in 2015.

This year The Edge received an Arts Council England grant of £37,856, an endorsement of the centre’s ambition to engage and involve the local community.

From using art to engage the public in the process of drug discovery research; to understanding the use of tattoos in commemorating and remembering the dead; to work with creative companies on motion capture technology; and research into robotics and social interaction, researchers from different faculties spoke about how partnerships with artists and creative organisations have given new perspectives on problems and opened exciting opportunities, ideas and challenges.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell (right) welcomed Darren Henley (second from left), Chief Executive of Arts Council England (ACE) to the University and The Edge's new exhibition A Nodding Acquaintance, with Professor Steve Egan (left) Vice-President (Implementation), Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Sarah Crown (ACE)

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England spoke of the importance of nurturing creativity in all to lead to a more just and prosperous society. He said: “When artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries work closely together with universities, exciting things happen. I’m impressed by the scale of creative ambition across the University of Bath and the commitment shown to helping students of all disciplines to unlock their creative potential. It’s this creativity that will be a determining factor in their future lives and careers.”

Artist Jean Baynham shared with the audience her experience of how art breaks down barriers to research in higher education, removing fear and enabling the wider public to become involved. Working with the University’s Institute for Mathematical Innovation, Jean created Data Stack for the Expressions of Research exhibition, a collaboration between Fringe Arts Bath, the University's Public Engagement Unit and Edge Arts.

Jamie Eastman, Director of Arts, said: “The Edge is providing a place where artists, audiences, researchers and academics can find new perspectives and fertile ground to showcase new thinking and ideas. This is informed in every way by the context of the University, bringing together arts, research and adventure. It strives to promote the art in science and the science in art.”

Darren Henley visited the Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications, meeting Director Darren Cosker and the research team drawn from the departments of computer science and health, to discover more about its work in the entertainment industry; in human performance enhancement; and assistive technologies for the rehabilitation for people with physical impairments.

The Edge offers a year-round programme of exhibitions, performing arts presentations, talks, arts classes, family and community events based around the ethos of bringing together arts, research and adventure. For the full Autumn/Winter programme visit: https://www.edgearts.org/

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