Creative Sparks: Scientific and creative minds working together is vital to our future

The #CreativeSparks phase of MadeAtUni showcases the contribution of UK universities to the nation’s creative industries and future economic success. We’ve spoken to Principals about the far-reaching benefits of the creative and performing arts.

Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal of the University of Dundee, was the last Principal we spoke to and we asked him how STEM benefits from the creative arts and how he sees that in practical terms at his own institution.

The creative arts and associated industries have a great role to play in helping answer many of the questions and conquering the challenges we face as a society, from climate change to economic growth.

These big challenges are not going to be met by scientists or engineers or designers or artists working on their own. Scientific and creative minds working together is vital to our future and we look to encourage this crossover wherever possible as an institution which is home to some of the UK’s most pioneering science and also one of our leading art schools, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

We have a strong interdisciplinary culture in research and research-informed teaching. This approach sees the mutual benefit of our STEM and Creative Subjects working together to transform lives across Health and Wellbeing, Creativity and Design, Innovative Technologies, and Social Justice. Our expertise informs a suite of interdisciplinary Masters’ programmes, attracting students from around the world.

The impact of creativity-led research on science and technology includes the award-winning Grow Observatory, led by Professor Mel Woods, a citizen science project for land, soil and food growing, which empowered thousands of volunteers across Europe to tackle environmental issues by bringing about change in their local communities.  Studio Ordinary, led by Professor Graham Pullin, where design meets disability and expands design practices to address design for disabled clients and healthy ageing. The 3D Visualisation Research Lab (3DVisLab), led by Professor Chris Rowland, an academic researcher with roots in 3D Animation, Design and Fine Art and extensive experience in the creative industries, delivers projects that are primarily focussed on investigating novel applications of 3D visualisation methodologies to solve real world problems including 3D Visualisation of Underwater Environments, Visualisation Methods for Detecting Terrorist Activities, Visualisation for Healthcare Sciences and Visualisation of Climate Change through projects such as After Ice or immersive experiences in the public domain with The Eden Project.