SPACES – UCLA Art|Sci Center + Lab

In ALL, SPACES by Alex Pedersen

For more than a decade, the UCLA Art|Sci Center and Lab has created space for intersections of media art and bio/nano sciences. The Center hosts regular open lectures, mixers, and symposiums designed to bring artists and scientists together under one roof. By integrating two distinct, but complimentary, philosophies into a “Third Culture,” this space is designed to excite the community to consider how art and science are pertinent in society.

Partnered and housed within the California NanoSystem Institute (CNSI), the Art|Sci Center hosts residencies for both aspiring and established artists. Using the CNSI’s laboratories and research facilities, high school students are invited in the summer months to explore the widening fields of science and art. Throughout the year, residencies are established by the Center in cooperation with the UCLA School of the Arts and the Department of Design | Media Arts to host visiting research scholars and artists from across the globe.

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The Center successfully creates a dynamic environment where scientists are drawn into studios and artists are appointed to laboratories. With a mandate of cross disciplinary collaboration, artists are encouraged to explore their practices within highly prominent research facilities. Collaborations have already been developed within fields of chemistry, nanoscience, neuroscience, neurobiology, psychiatry, plasma physics, evolutionary biology, medicine, and cardiology. Research topics have included artificial intelligence, birdsong communication, and everything in between. The Center has also fostered unique relationships with other science-art university spaces in Japan, Austria, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

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As mentioned, the Art|Science Center + Lab’s education facilities offer a unique experience for upper year high school students. Designed as an approach to inspire students to grapple with some of society’s toughest challenges, this two week program offers aspiring students opportunities to participate in nanotech lectures, tours, and field trips of Los Angeles’s landscape of the arts. The Art|Science Center + Lab explains:

“Creativity is the fundamental source of innovation in any endeavour. Unfortunately, the vast majority of current educational models focus solely on the development analytical skills at the expense of creative thought. Through new course/curriculum development, community outreach, and by offering access to special lectures, symposia, and exhibitions, the Art|Sci Center seeks to cultivate integrated approaches to learning based on creative insight as a means to address the future challenges of society.”

“Creativity is the fundamental source of innovation in any endeavour. Unfortunately, the vast majority of current educational models focus solely on the development analytical skills at the expense of creative thought.”

This two week program culminates with a public presentation and exhibition of each student’s work. Students have the opportunity to use their experience towards credits at UCLA and to build their portfolios for future projects and applications.

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Found on the 5th floor of the CNSI, the Art|Science Center + Lab’s gallery space is open to the public for exhibitions featuring collaborative works created within the labs. Here, science-inspired art is displayed and exhibitions are coupled with numerous events to bring in scientists, artists, and the general public to view cutting-edge works.

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Regular events and exhibitions are hosted at the gallery, but also more widely across museums on campus and in the surrounding community. A full list of recent and upcoming events can be found on their main page. The Art|Science Center + Lab hosts remarkable programs and is among the leading institutions for the collaboration of both art and science disciplines. More than ten years strong, this organization will continue to inspire youth by transcending traditional boundaries seen in society.

Find out more at the UCLA Art|Science Center + Lab website.

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About the Author
Alex Pedersen

Alex Pedersen

Alex is a critical scholar and social scientist. During her degrees, Alex recognized a dearth of knowledge transfer between the academy and the general public. To address this gap, she extends her empirical research through multiple mediums including: publications, formal lectures, public speaking events, radio, theatre and photography. In diversifying access to her research, Alex honed a unique set of skills to plan, design and produce events for a wide variety of audiences. To date, she was responsible for several successful lecture series, community events and fundraisers across diverse settings. Most notably, Alex organized and implemented the 2015 Chancellor Dunning Trust Lectureship and was an advisor for the “Free Queen’s” Steering Committee (an initiative encouraging graduates to bring their work to the wider public). In addition, she has written numerous successful grant applications. An activist at heart, Alex advocates for critical thinking in and beyond academic institutions.