Rhyme and reason collaboration

Monday 17 March 2003

A series of poems aimed at fostering creative dialogue between poetry and science have inspired a number of events throughout the UK involving a number of internationally celebrated artists.

The Contemporary Poetry and Contemporary Science Project – which opened during National Science Week (7-14 March 2003) and runs until May 2003 – brings together nine pairs of distinguished poets and scientists of all disciplines across the UK and North America. The scientists range from palaeontologists to solar mathematicians. Four of the poets have links to the School of English at the University of St Andrews. Professor Robert Crawford, John Burnside, and Don Paterson are all current staff members, while Paul Muldoon is an Honorary Professor.

During the project, each scientist introduced their poetic partner to aspects of their work – for example offering a tour of the lab or subjecting them to an experiment. Each poet then wrote a poem of 30 lines or less related to the experience. The scientists in turn read their partners’ poems and produced written responses. This novel collaboration, which has spawned multiple workshops, artworks and public events across Britain from London’s Natural History Museum to Sensation, Dundee’s science centre, has been hailed as an important step toward fulfilling a huge need for greater understanding and partnership between science and the arts. Part of the Sciart project, it also represents a creative funding partnership between The Wellcome Trust, The Arts Council of England, StAnza: Scotland’s Poetry Festival, The Scottish Poetry Library, the University of St Andrews and several other participants.

Robert Crawford said, “This project demonstrates to the public, and to the arts and science communities, that the arts and sciences should be seen not as opposed but as richly imbricated in a prosperous and healthy culture. I’d like to think this might serve as a pilot project for others”.

They have also formed the inspiration for a series of artworks being exhibited at Dundee Contemporary Arts from 10 March until 13 April. Artists include Dalziel and Scullion, and Will McLean.

Members of the public can participate themselves in the ongoing Sci/Arts dialogue by attending family workshops on SWAP! Science, Words, Art and Poetry on Saturday 15 March and Sunday 23 March, or ‘The Big Experiment’ performance and debate on Sunday 13 April at DCA.

A further Sci/Arts workshop, featuring poets Paul Muldoon and Don Paterson with their scientific project partners, will be held in The Poetry House, University of St Andrews School of English on Thursday 8 May.


Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk View University press releases on- line at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: scienceandpoetry- 2/standrews/chg/17march2003

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