In 2020, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Smart Medical Imaging (CDT in Smart Medical Imaging) and the Royal College of Art (RCA) presented ARTxSCIENCE.co.uk, an online exhibition exploring cutting edge research in medical imaging. Created in collaboration between postgraduate students from both institutions, the project demonstrates the potential of interdisciplinary collaborations to engage new audiences with scientific research and developments.
ART x SCIENCE explores innovative research into artificial intelligence and ultrasound in order to engage, excite and spark a conversation around the technological developments that have the potential to revolutionise healthcare. Visitors were invited to watch, listen to, play with and reflect upon digital exhibits that reimagine the principals behind the research.
Through a journey of inquiry and discovery, collaborating students share their research area, practice and approach to create two new collaborative projects. Artificial Intelligence, by RCA student Bethany Hadfield and CDT student Jonathan Jackson, investigates the creation of synthetic digital body parts to train artificial intelligence, and questions the ethics of using machine learning to make complex moral decisions. Meanwhile, Ultra, developed by RCA student Melanie King and CDT student Carlos Cueto illustrates the potential of ultrasound to diagnose strokes and explores the sound of the inside of our brains.
|The Machine by Johnny Jackson
|Ripples by Carlos Cueto
After exploring the exhibits, visitors are asked a series of questions to collect their perspectives relating to the research area. Responses are shared with the research community to allow mutual learning. ART x SCIENCE ultimately aims to contribute towards a research culture that is trusted, well informed, and it suits the needs of society.
The online exhibition has received over 1,000 visitors and positive feedback from young people in our local boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth. A Year 11 student from the British Research Council’s Young Peoples Advisory Group commented: “I think the exhibition is very good at making sometimes ambiguous and daunting technological advancements much more approachable, which I think will surely lead to more discussion and participation.”
As well as enabling two-way engagement with members of the public, the project developed the collaborators communication and engagement skills. Carlos reflected: “I’d never done anything like this before. [The project] allowed me to think differently about my work and ways in which I could communicate in the public in an organic way.”
Art x Science is an ongoing collaboration. This year, new collaborative groups involving CDT and RCA students will create physical exhibits that will be showcased at The Science Museum during the 2021 Great Exhibition Road Festival on 9 and 10 October.