Creative Collisions or Cultural Clash?

A few weeks ago, I was at the opening of the Bristol and Bath Science Park.  The Chief Exec, Bonnie Dean, was using the term ‘Creative Collisions’ as part of her vision of bringing together people with scientific and commercial expertise, and those with backgrounds in design and ‘creative arts’.  (I’m using the ‘’ so you realise I’m not suggesting for a moment that science isn’t creative….)

On display in one of the public networking areas are three of Luke Jerram’s Glass Microbiological Sculptures. He said “It’s exciting to have my sculptures in this space, where science, art and design will come together to inspire organisations at the Park as well as the wider community.”

It’s got me thinking about the positive ways in which we now see crossover between ‘science’ and the ‘arts’.  The Wellcome Collection Galleries have of course been comfortable with this for many years. And a couple of years ago, I took my children to the  Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, and came across ‘Overhang’, a collaborative project between Tobias Putrih and the architecture and design company MOS.

overhang at the baltic


We were all inspired to build our own structures there in the gallery, and I later used our own ‘Jenga’ blocks to do a similar activity with the Primary School STEM club.

Can you guess who did which structure in these photos – the artists were daughter (9), son (11) and proud Mum (older)?


But perhaps there is natural crossover here – this is after all structural engineering rather than science, and architectural design rather than fine art.

But the area of crossover that has really caught my imagination recently is taking place on stage.  The Uncaged Monkeys Tour starts in December, after successfully breaking out from the Radio 4 show last year.  (That is not their own website, but I was so amused by the advertisement alongside for the ‘Smackdown World Tour 2011’ that I had to include it.  Simon, Brian, Robin and Ben have reached out further than they know!)

Not quite Hammersmith Odeon level yet, but certainly filling venues around the country is FOTSN – the Festival of the Spoken Nerd. According to the New Scientist review, it “Harnesses comedy to highlight what is fun – and funny – about science.”  And I thought it was great!

However, I’m still waiting to find the ideal crossover between my two areas of interests: physics and musical theatre, or perhaps maths and opera.  Maybe there is an opening here – an unfulfilled niche?  Is there an opportunity for a creative collision rather than a cultural clash?  Anyone want to go adventuring with me?

(from L-R structures by Mum, daughter and son.  Did you assume daughter did the most ‘human like’ creation.?)