Science and Art

1.1   Description

Science and art can be combined and integrated in a conference or workshop. It can be used to activate the speakers and the participants and send strong long-lasting messages to the general public.


1.2   Objective

Complex messages are often difficult to communicate and both professional and lay audiences may not be motivated enough to really use their time and energy to understand the message fully. Art can be used to enhance the communication of complicated subject matters (such as climate science) with good results.


1.3   Structure

General Structure: Single Event

Triangulation through Science Communication is an example of a trilateral project that uses art, science and communication to invoke emotions and convey information about climate change. Works from the Triangulation Series by artist Yolanda del Riego were augmented with Stories & Voices of science journalists through the Look & Listen pocket guide, developed by the experimental documentary magazine The Exposed.

In this project the science journalists who were receiving travel grants were asked to write a story about climate change. Stories from 18 journalists who participated in the conference were selected and these stories were recorded by their authors and attached to individual tiles in the art piece made by the artist.

Variants of this idea can be applied to a number of subjects to run alongside a wide range of event types.


1.4   Duration

Main Event Duration: 3 days
Project Duration: 8 Months

The art pieces were displayed throughout the 3 main days of the conference for participants to see. A reception was organised where the artists presented the artwork and participants could listen to the stories of the journalists who were also present at the event. Other events of this type could present art pieces for longer/shorters exhibitions, or could be presented in an online format.

2.1    Staff & Volunteers

Volunteer Requirements: Core organising team only

In theory a science and art event can be organised by a single person, but a slightly bigger team helps sustainability especially because of the logistics and refreshments needed on the day.


2.2    Venue Hire

Venue: Indoor
Capacity: 20-500 people

Talks are usually hosted indoors, but special outdoors events are possible. It is a good idea to combine the show with a reception.


2.3    Partner Institutions

Partner Institutions: Not required

A science and art event can be run independently; there is no real need to team up with a partner institution. However, collaborations are encouraged as they can provide expert speakers as well as opportunities for unique events to engage new audiences — NGOs, universities, science centres and cultural events are key examples.


2.4    Budget

Yearly / Project Budget: 10,000€

This is based on an estimate of the production cost of the artworks, the transportation costs and costs of the refreshments served at the reception. The artist’s travel expenses to the event were also paid for. The artists donated the artwork to the project.

Budget Point Details Event Cost
Personnel Fees The core organising team is required (voluntary) as well as the artists and journalists’ contribution 0€
Venue Hire The venue cost is covered by the conference organisers. 0€
Marketing Design / printing of posters or buying advertising space in local papers / on social media 0€
    The venue should be able to cover any basic needs (chairs, tables, etc.)
  • The production and transportation of the artwork.
  • The costs of hanging the artworks in the venue.
    The setup and hosting of the content for the app
    The travel and registration costs of the artists and the developers of the app.
    Refreshments, if not provided through venue, could add an extra cost
Total 10,000€

3.1   Target Audience

Target Audience: All Ages


3.2   Marketing

Marketing should be performed for every event. A good technique to attract different audiences are collaborations with partner institutions to cover a wide range of topics. Marketing can be split into an offline and an online strategy. For the former, posters are essential for brand visibility at relevant locations — this could be at the local university, the chosen venue, and other community gathering points. If a Café Sci or a similar event has been established in your area, you can also encourage participants to spread their experience by word of mouth.
As part of your online strategy, Facebook pages and websites are critical, easy points of access. Website development might incur extra costs, and should be avoided unless funding is available. Find local partners that might be willing to advertise your event and send mailshots to their mailing lists, e.g. those of university student organisations, staff mailing lists, NGOs, government organisations, and so on. It is critical to collect emails of attendees to follow up to encourage return visitors.
There should also be a social media component to your online strategy. Facebook advertising can be used to great effect, as specific target populations can be reached depending on the event, matching people to their given interests. Posting an upcoming event on a page that people follow will allow for free marketing as well once your social media presence has grown sufficiently. Facebook events should be shared on relevant groups and on personal profiles non-intrusively — just ask nicely. Twitter can replace Facebook in certain countries.
Make sure all posters, banners and other graphical media are well designed and in line with the brand your audience will be attracted to.
When time permits, events should be advertised on local magazines, newsletters, TV, and radio stations. Traditional media can be asked to interview key speakers. The idea is to reach different publics to encourage them to attend.


3.3   Dialogic Strategy

When the art is presented it is an advantage to have the artist themselves present. In our case we also had 18 journalists who had made their contribution to the storytelling via augmented reality. This gave a completely new dimension to showing the art.

4.1   Project Timeline

Time Activity
Months in advance
  • Venue hire and provisional setting of dates for the events
  • Contacting researchers to confirm their availability
  • Poster design and Press release writing
Weeks in advance
  • Marketing: poster distribution, Facebook event
  • Meet with researchers to chat about their presentation
On the day
  • Purchasing of refreshments and venue set up


4.2   Single Event Structure

Time Activity
30-60 mins
  • One or several short informal presentations
15-30 mins
  • Moderated Q&A session
60-90 mins
  • Refreshments with an optional interactive session


4.3   Personnel roles

Person Activity
Core Team
  • Arrive at venue some hours in advance to set up projector or any other needed equipment
  • Should arrive just in time to set up their props and give talk


4.4   Materials

The artist donated the art piece. In addition there are transport expenses, as well as hanging expenses.


4.5   Other Logistics

Additional needs include refreshments for the audience, if they are not available for purchase through the venue. The event should be free of charge if at all possible, but attendees may be happy to pay for the refreshments in a café / bar setting.

As the journalists were involved in the art production via their augmented reality stories a large number of them were keen to write stories about the event when they arrived home to their own media. This created a large number of articles about the conference, the art event and the art-piece itself.

It is a good idea to do the evaluation via the internet. Print small flyers asking participants to give feed-back via an evaluation template.

Download as PDF


Cite this Activity

Degett, J., & Styles, C. (2020, August 21). Science and Art. Retrieved from

First published: August 21, 2020
Last modified: August 21, 2020

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