Science Artist Residency: Between the Sand
Scientist: Dr. Kevin Mumford
Artist: Owen Fernley
Location: Queen's University Department of Civil Engineering | Kingston, Canada
Between the Sand launches in the Polyfield Gallery
on December 5th, 2020
Background
Art the Science facilitates cross-disciplinary relationships between artists and scientists to foster Canadian science-art culture. Our immersive Science Artist Residency opens the doors of scientific practice to artists and provides researchers an innovative opportunity to engage the public. The outcome of this residency also provides the general public an accessible way to learn about ongoing scientific research in Canada. Our residency program provides an immersive experience for an artist in a scientific laboratory environment, with a specific aim of showcasing research-inspired art to the public, and conducting program evaluation of the collaboration and public engagement pieces.

The Science Artist Residency has three phases: Phase I is designed to immerse an artist in scientific research. During Phase II, the artist showcases the artwork inspired by the residency to the local community and shares a digital version of the work online globally via Art the Science’s digital Polyfield Gallery for Phase III.
Between the Sand Timeline

Phase 1 | March 18-30, 2018

During this phase, the artist became an active independent member of the research group on a full-time basis for 2 weeks. This phase informed and inspired the artist’s work. Relevant safety training was provided.

Phase 2 | February 27, 2019

Phase II consisted of a local evening event where the academic research group and the artist engaged the local community through discussion and exhibition of work that resulted from the residency.

Phase 3 | December 5, 2020

For Phase III, the artist worked with Art the Science’s team to adapt their artwork for online exhibition. The artist was encouraged to consider creating an interactive work to engage a global online community.

Key People
Owen Fernley
Role: Artist
Dr. Kevin Mumford
Role: Scientist
Dr. Cole Van De Ven
Role: PhD Student
Cat Lau
Role: Program Evaluator
Art the Science Team
Various Roles
Julia Krolik
Role: Residency Director
Residency Phases
The Science Artist Residency has three phases: Phase I is designed to immerse an artist in scientific research. During Phase II, the artist showcases the artwork inspired by the residency to the local community and shares a digital version of the work online globally via Art the Science’s digital Polyfield Gallery for Phase III.

Click the tabs below to learn more about each phase:
Phase I occurred on March 19–30, 2018, when Fernley spent his days engrossed in the work of Dr. Kevin Mumford’s environmental engineering laboratory at Queen’s University. The research group studies the movement of liquids and gases in the porous underground. Specifically, the team investigates how hazardous chemicals move below the surface and how to remediate contaminated sites.

After entering the lab, Fernley quickly learned about the well-tested and extensively used Invasion Percolation algorithm. Some of the group’s research focused on exploring its limitations. “I had to drop my expectations; learning about this algorithm and some of the other modelling challenges the research group faced was even better than building an algorithm from scratch,” recalls Fernley. “For the first few days, I mainly tried to follow the breadth of research the group was working on. There was a lot to take in, and I became a student by necessity.”

>>> Click to read our Phase I Evaluation Report

>>> Image Gallery
Group photo of Mumford Research Group
Artist Owen Fernley and several members of Dr. Kevin Mumford’s research group. (From left to right: Matan Freedman, Owen Fernley, Nick Pease, Kevin Mumford, Caroline Wisheart, and Cole Van De Ven).

Photo of student showing Owen a sand apparatus
Viewing a sand column apparatus in the lab.

Photo of Owen Presenting
Artist Owen Fernley presenting a talk on his creative coding practice to the research group.

Collage of science equipment images
Images of equipment and experiments artist Owen Fernley encountered during his residency.

Collage of science equipment images
Fernley's first concept for Between the Sand involved making a digital representation of a packed sand column.

>>> Go to Phase II: Local Event <<<
Conference Talks
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Implementation and Evaluation of a Science Artist Residency | Julia Krolik & Cat Lau
November 26th, 2020 | Virtual
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The A in STEAM: Exploring Creativity in Science Communication Panel Discussion | Julia Krolik
May 24th, 2019 | Winnpeg, MB
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Innovating Science Communication Panel Session Description | Julia Krolik & Cat Lau
November 7th, 2018 | Ottawa, ON
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Beyond the Silo: Introducing the Science Artist Residency | Julia Krolik & Cat Lau
June 12th, 2018 | Winnipeg, MB
Between the Sand launches in the Polyfield Gallery
on December 5th, 2020