— Cultural Sources of Newness

Arts communicate (with) science

All the participants I have spoken to during the breaks at the Hidden Hunger conference say they feel it is a good idea to have art here. So I want to know why? The most frequent reason they cite is that the arts help communicate science. For example, they tell me that art communicates complex connections more clearly than technical language and technical graphs do, it communicates in a more human way, it provides the interpretation in a real life context.  Communication is definitely a key challenge for the sciences in general and in this field in particular. The issue appears on many of the experts’ presentation slides.

Communications as Key Success Factor

Communications as Key Success Factor

 

An example is the film that premiered at the conference this morning Fighting Malnutrition in Modern Nepal, produced and directed by David Booker. He traveled throughout the country, looking, posing questions, listening to people, and the expert who spoke immediately after the film, Keith P. West from Johns Hopkins University exclaimed “you have captured an amazing feeling in that film, you’ve captured so very much.”

David Booker's film documents change in Nepal

David Booker’s film documents change in Nepal

In just 24 minutes, the film addressed the multiple factors affecting nutrition and it documented how much has changed in Nepal over the past five years, for better and for worse. The two messages in the conclusion of the film that struck me most were (a) the importance of developing the infrastructure, because “making jobs possible, that is what makes good nutrition possible” and (b) the impact that collecting the material for the film had on David Booker personally “I’ve changed. I don’t know which world is mine.” The film is now available online. Contact David Booker via email for more information: dbooker(at)nomaddigital.com .

David Booker watches the premiere of his film at Hidden Hunger Congress 2015

David Booker watches the premiere of his film at Hidden Hunger Congress 2015

His comment strikes me because it shows that art can do more than communicate science. Engaging with art can change people. Will the fact that artists are at the conference, mixing with the experts, developing and presenting their art on site, change people here? 

Science meets arts: Transdisciplinary communication in action

Science meets arts: Transdisciplinary communication in action

Observable signs of tiny changes: people are looking at messages the transdisciplinarity master students from the University of the Arts of Zürich put under the coffee cups, phrases they collected from interviews and speeches during the first two days of the Hidden Hunger conference. Participants are stopping to read, remembering when they heard a phrase, wondering how the paper arrived under the cup, smiling. Some are thereby experiencing a different kind of coffee break that may leave traces in their memories and, who knows–it might trigger something else later. Maybe they will discover that there is value in having the arts communicate with science.

 

Cup message: the important issues

Cup message: the important issues