Sunday, October 29, 2017

In a Time of Change (ITOC)

The In a Time of Change (ITOC) program is a strong and well-developed model for art/sci collaborations at field stations, marine labs and artist residencies.

ITOC is a large effort that links a cohort of artists with dozens of scientists for over a year; but the model is scalable to smaller programs, shorter time periods and modest exhibitions. ITOC provides a potential partnership opportunity with museums and galleries near your field station, and could be structured as a university semester program linking art and science grad students. Or the program could provide a Broader Impacts opportunity to NSF-funded researchers at your site.

[ITOC] was founded in 2008 by artists and scientists in Fairbanks with support from University of Alaska - Fairbanks and the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research program.
ITOC recognizes that the arts, humanities, and sciences bring different, yet synergistic perspectives and reactions to the natural world. Collaborations between the arts, humanities and sciences engage people at the intellectual, intuitive, and emotional levels, and strengthen their appreciation for the environments and ecosystems in which they live. Combining these diverse perspectives also yields greater success in solving complex environmental problems and promoting outreach and education than science alone. 
ITOC was co-founded and is directed by Mary Beth Leigh, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Wildlife and the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Leigh is an environmental microbiologist with a background in the fine arts as a dancer, choreographer, and musician. She has a strong interest in fostering collaborative arts-humanities-science activities.
The ITOC programs connect a cohort of artists with numerous scientists over many months. The artists learn about the current project theme in the lab, the classroom and the field: on the UAF campus, the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest and the Toolik Field Station. Artists in the program then develop works inspired by the theme.

Artistic media have included painting, sculpture, tile, printmaking, textiles, artist books, writing and multimedia, The project artworks are presented through gallery exhibits, websites, public readings, and other events. ITOC works have been included in exhibits at the National Science Foundation headquarters in Arlington, VA.

Past ITOC programs were themed on Microbial Worlds (2017),  Trophic Cascades (2013), The Art of Fire (2012), Envisioning the Future (2010), In a Time of Change (2008).

Another model that can be quickly adopted by additional field stations is the Ecological Reflections program at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.

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