• Presentation
  • Sci-art

Art is a powerful communicator of science

Webinar presentation by Gabby O'Connor, Carolyn Lundquist and Joe O'Callaghan, May 2020 (52 mins + Q&A)

The presenters discuss their experiences with The Unseen, an art-science-education research project that investigated ways to communicate risk and uncertainty in marine science.

Through a series of workshops, more than 1,600 school students and community members explored complex marine concepts - like and the risks associated with environmental and climate change. At each workshop, guest scientists presented their research and Gabby connected the science with art using her own work in Antarctica, as well as the local geography, as an example.

Participants then worked together to synthesise their shared knowledge into a collaborative artwork, The Unseen.

Findings from participant feedback show that art can be highly successful at conveying complex, intangible science concepts - in this case, ocean stratification (vertical layers in the ocean) and ki uta ki tai (the connection between land and sea).

About the speakers

Gabby O’Connor is an artist, educator and interdisciplinary researcher with training in sculpture and an interest in science communication and community. She is a current PhD candidate with University of Auckland with a scholarship from the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

Carolyn Lundquist is a principal scientist in marine ecology at NIWA and an Associate Professor in Marine Science at Auckland University. She was a guest scientist at some of the workshops and presented research about estuaries and marine life.

Joe O'Callaghan is an oceanographer at NIWA. She adopts an observational approach to better understand the parts of the ocean where people work and play. Joe was one of the guest marine scientists at the workshops and presented her research with ocean robots.