Science and Art: A Multidisciplinary Understanding

By Philip Breedon and Leslie Arthur.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This research has established that a number of multidisciplinary research teams working collaboratively in the development of complex and interactive structures combining specialist science and art based knowledge are able to produce new products. This research has confronted the educational politics of academic insularity and in that process begun to establish a different culture within design at Nottingham Trent University that is supportive and constructive towards students from both the arts & sciences.
A range of projects have been designed, manufactured and publicly exhibited; including the muscle machine: a six-legged three-metre diameter robot and a two metre high interactive 'sculptured snake'. The value, increased understanding and social impact across a range of disciplines led to several new ways of delivering the theoretical. This approach has also nurtured a practical understanding of scientific and artistic communities in both the academic and public domains.
An intrinsic part of the process was the relationship to multidisciplinary working. The theoretical aspects of taught programmes were correlated, ensuring parity in the teaching of mixed groups of art and science based students. The authors argue that academics need to challenge their pre-conceptions and begin collaborating with other disciplines. These actions can develop connections and potential associations that can proffer diverse and exciting ideas leading to new developments, pioneering programmes and new values.

Keywords: Multidisciplinary, Science, Art, Collaboration

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.263-270. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 745.261KB).

Dr. Philip Breedon

Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture,Design & the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, UK

Dr. Philip Breedon is a Senior Lecturer within College of Art and Design at the Nottingham Trent University. He started his career as an indentured engineering apprentice and has taken on a series of engineering and computing academic challenges culminating in the award of his PhD based on artificial intelligence and robotics. A number of previous cross disciplinary robotics and pneumatic technology research projects have been undertaken, including Snake Robot and Muscle Machine. These exciting and innovative projects provided numerous challenges in terms of design and control. His research interests and latest projects centre on new and emerging technologies and include technical textiles, wearable technologies, swarm robotics and investigative research related to the utilisation of ‘smart materials’ for medical applications and surgical implants.

Leslie Arthur

Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture,Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, UK

Leslie Arthur was a mature student in 1983, primarily working in fine art; he progressed to design and then studied cognitive psychology part-time for seven years at the University of Nottingham (within research). He has obtained post graduate and MA qualifications. He has also taught for 24 years within further and higher education. His roles with national validating bodies have been as an examiner, editor, writer; and verifier. He has co-taught in the Business School, the Social Sciences, Design Management and the many disciplines within Art & Design, from Fine Art to Fashion. He has over 85 outputs, all of which are national & international and also peer reviewed, 50% of these are academic papers.. He has lectured and delivered seminars in Spain, Germany, Denmark, Norway, China and the USA. He has managed and developed courses at undergraduate and post graduate levels and currently senior lecturer in Design History and Critical Theory; he also supervises M.A. MPhil and PhD research. He was an original member of Zap Art international; a group considered to the forerunners in the use computers and design (Wired 1996 International edition.) His work can be characterised by defining the whole approach to education as across disciplines and subjects. He refuses to acknowledge academic ghettoes; in his approach tries to correlate the knowledge and some of the working mechanisms from the social sciences, design management and design practise to nurture creativity generally and facilitate innovation that upholds the Fine Art tradition of challenging our pre conceptions..