PARTNERS IN PROCESS: A CONTEMPORARY COLLABORATION BETWEEN A SCIENTIST AND ARTIST
As science and art education faculty, we have found that collaboration allows us to expand opportunities for our students as we model process and creativity within our fields. Two powerful tools in our collaboration are contemporary artists and research notebooks. Contemporary art, created by artists of the 21st century, allows us to engage with the artists in their process. Linked to modern issues, like social justice, politics, and environmental education, students can relate to the topics in a personal way – it is their world being represented. While contemporary artists use a variety techniques, many incorporate new technology, installations, and performance within their art. Finally, as living people, their process is often preserved in video interviews and workshops of iterative prototypes. These are powerful examples for both science and art students to see inquiry and discovery in process – focused on the goal of discovery and, ultimately, communication.
Second, we find research notebooks to be particularly useful in teaching the process of creativity. Initially modeled by Dr. Julia Marshall, the approach is loosely based on scientific field notebooks – recording events, observations, and conclusions. But it extends powerfully beyond by scaffolding students through detailed inquiry and observation techniques and formalized exploration pages. Students explore a question or concept from multiple prospective (e. g. artistic, scientific, social, cultural, structural) through techniques like mind mapping, academic research, concept sketching, visualization, and metaphor. Through this process of creative inquiry, questions evolve. The process of that evolution and discovery are preserved in the students’ notebooks and highlighted through reflective writings.