Interdisciplinary Connections

Creating New Knowledge

Collaboration between the arts and other subject areas has the potential to create new knowledge, and cross fertilize ideas and processes in both fields.

Art making can be inspired by encounters or connections made through literature, music, math, geography, psychology, geology, chemistry, even economics and statistics!

Different disciplines approach creativity, exploration and research in different ways and from different perspectives; when working together they open up new ways of seeing, experiencing and interpreting the world around us.


Contemporary Interdisciplinary Practices

There are many diverse approaches to artistic process these days, often referred to as ‘practice’. Some artists are more studio-based, others have a practice that extends well beyond the studio walls, or may have social, community or environmental aspects.

Australian artist Fiona Hall has a wide-ranging and diverse artistic practice: She transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, using everyday materials like money, recycled cans and bottles and household products. From these banal materials she crafts wondrous objects that explore the complex and fraught relationship between humans and nature, like in this image of dollar bills shredded to create rare delicate birds nests.

Fiona Hall's creative process involves many stages of thinking and making that students can follow with their own choice of topic from another discipline of subject area.

Stages of Creative Development

  • researching a topic or area of study from another discipline
  • collecting materials
  • imagining, designing
  • making and refining
  • creating further meaning through methods of presentation and display

Art and Science: Hot Topic

There is a rapidly growing interest in collaborations between art and science which makes this a rich and diverse area for scientifically inclined students to explore, ( or anyone interested in materials, processes, technology, cycles, knowledge, growth... life in general!) There are now degree programs specifically in Art and Science and I predict this field will be expanding and generating a huge amount of interest in the future.

Statistics, economics, mathematics... get inspired

 Collecting Visual Information

Some contemporary artists I saw at the Venice Biennale took their ideas from unpoetic subjects like economics graphs to make poetic art, as in these textiles hand woven and embroidered with production statistics from different world economies. This French Bosnian artist, Mila Bajevic, explores issues related to globalization and migration, inclusion and exclusion and exploitation. Find out more about Bajevic's practice here

...and if charts and statistics really float your boat, check out Edward Tuftes book Envisoning Information

it might even be in your school library:

SBN-13: 978-0961392116

ISBN-10: 0961392118

Many of the pages in this section explore the relationship between art and science. They are intended as a resource for teachers to point interested students towards, and for students looking for material for investigation and experimentation to support their own research and help to locate artists doing exciting work in this area. Here's a few to get you started:

Words as Art

Sacred Script

Art and Chemistry

Volatile Substances

Sound Art

Nature and Technology

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