Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Co-Evolution: Art and Biology in the Museum

Between 2010-2015, the University of New Mexico ran Advancing Integration of Museums into Undergraduate Programs (AIM-UP): a NSF Research Coordination Network program themed around natural history museum collections.

The goal of the RCN was to emphasize the critical current value of these collections by
"refining existing efforts and developing new integrated approaches to collections-based training in large-scale questions using the expertise of educators, curators, collection managers, database managers, and scientists whose work spans disciplines."
The program included field stations, as well.

As part of AIM-UP, in 2012 the museum ran a semester-long seminar called CO-EVOLUTION: Art + Biology in the Museum. The seminar connected art and science:
"Communication between fields is important within science but there also is a greater need for interdisciplinary exchange between biologists, artists, historians, and other researchers to share resources and methods for building collective knowledge. Such collaborations help identify the ties between cultural history and natural history, as we pose new questions and foster a more expansive approach to answering these questions by connecting their diverse histories. Collections can help foster the development of creativity, generative thinking, and rigorous inquiry that will be required of future leaders in research and practice. While scientific education and research offer rigorous methods for creating new knowledge, arts education and practice provide the tools to foster exploration."
The project created a blog that is a rich source of art/sci content and links. The blog was meant to be:
"A space for posting thoughts, ideas, references, resources, and works. The theme of our seminar and workshop series is 'Morphology and Geographic Variation.' We will use the natural history collection as our starting point and hear from scientists, artists, designers, programmers, musicians, and more on place-based study."

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