Shared Imagination: Art and Science Collaborations in Dundee  

On Thursday 6th October 2011, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Wellcome Trust, the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression hosted a Symposium and Exhibition, Shared Imagination, bringing together scientists, artists and designers from Dundee and from other Scottish Universities to investigate new ways of developing Science and Art projects in a city whose changing identity over the past few decades has been heavily influenced by life sciences and art and design.

This event was organised by the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression in conjunction with Exhibitions at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. In his introductory lecture the Director of the GRE Centre, Professor Angus Lamond, contextualised the influence that funding from the Wellcome Trust has had on the economic and social development of the City of Dundee. Professor Stephen Partridge, Dean of Research at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, outlined the potential for collaborative projects between the two communities in Dundee.

Two invited guest speakers from the international Arts community: Martha Fleming from the Centre for Arts and Humanities Research at the Natural History Museum, (London) and Rob LaFrenais, Director of The Arts Catalyst, (London), which has a remit of experimentally and critically engaging with science – also attended and presented plenary lectures to the 50 invited delegates from the Scottish Arts community and the life sciences research centre.

The afternoon session included presentations by Dundee artists currently active in collaborations involving work that spans arts and sciences. A workshop was also held to explore concepts and ideas for future projects. The evening Exhibition Launch featured a performance art piece, specially commissioned by the GRE Centre for the event, by local artist Pernille Spence.

Prof. Lamond said, “We were delighted by the enthusiastic response we received from both the arts and science communities to this new initiative. The ‘Shared Imagination’ symposium highlighted the wealth of creativity on hand and the exciting opportunities available for groundbreaking new projects. Dundee offers an ideal hub for developing collaborations between the arts and sciences in future.”