British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence (BHF CoRE) Artists Residency Programme

Coordinator: Chris Fremantle
Advisor: D. Urquhart

We propose to submit a White Paper focused on the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence (BHF CoRE) Artists Residency Programme which has been delivered over the past 3 years at the Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh in partnership between BHF CoRE and Edinburgh College of Art, in particular the Art, Space and Nature MFA.

It is well understood that the disciplines of art and design and of the biomedical sciences have different forms of knowledge, methods of research, types of evidence, etc. The residency programme has not sought to conflate or erase these differences, but rather to support and value both fields of research and practice.

The paper will outline work done to date, and will draw out key challenges and opportunities through in depth semi-structured interviews with the some of the participants, both artists and scientists. In relation to the suggested theme our aim will address the question “So just what do we need to advocate for?”

Key areas of the programme work that we will draw on in addressing this question will be:

The structure and process used to introduce artists and biomedical researchers;

A consistent selection process, developed with the assistance of Art, Space and Nature staff, has been used for each of the three years of the programme. All artists on the Art, Space and Nature programme were eligible to submit a proposal. All students attended a day of presentations at QMRI by given by a wide range of researchers. In response there was a second day of reciprocal presentations by artists on the Art, Space and Nature programme. These covered their own practice to date and highlighted areas of research at QMRI that were of interest to them. Residencies ended with presentations followed by Q&A sessions involving the wider group of researchers and artists.

The development of understanding of both artists and biomedical researchers participating in the programme.

We will focus on the trajectories of understanding of the different working processes and objectives. This will be drawn out through semi-structured interviews. One of the issues for interdisciplinary working is the achievement of ‘disciplinary adequacy’, i.e. sufficient understanding of each other’s disciplines.

The White Paper will draw on the Leonardo Journal (e.g. Foster, 2011) as well as literature on interdisciplinarity (e.g. Repko, 2008), collaboration (e.g. Kester, 2011; Fremantle, 2012) and existing reports already identified by SEAD. These will provide a critical framework.

Foster, C. (2011). Three Colors: Coomassie Brilliant Blue, Sudan I and Somalia Yellow. Leonardo Journal (44, 1)
Fremantle, C. (June 2012). Reflections on Collaboration. 24 August 2012.
Kester, G. (2011). The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context. Duke University Press, Durham and London.
Repko, A.F. (2008). Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory. Sage: Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore