5th Meeting – April 2019: “Biodiversity through Art – SCIENCE”

Key Learning Objectives
– Engaging students in science-based learning by incorporating artistic practice
– Collaboration between art and science
– To see science and art in a non-traditional setting

• The 5-day workshop “Biodiversity through Art” will be focused on Science (particularly Biology and Chemistry), scientific research and laboratory work as well as search for aesthetic values in such work and exploring the intersection of Art and Science

• The first day, students will learn through different activities (brainstorming, role play, games, peer teaching, etc.) as much as possible about scientific research, they will work in groups in the school´s laboratory observing different tissue structures, fibres, cells etc. Teachers will prepare those activities and they will try to focus students’ attention not just on the scientific facts but also on the variety of shapes and colours in the observed materials. Contrary to the popular saying, they will learn that beauty is not only skin-deep because there is plenty to fascinate right beneath the surface and when viewed through the lens of art, the images of cells and fibres, their patterns and colours resemble the modern art. The students will explore how art and science complement each other in this unique workshop designed to promote cross-curriculum learning.

• The second day, students will visit our partner university in Košice – the specific activities will be discussed after the project is approved, but it will be e.g. excursion of university laboratories, insight into the real scientific research, lecture or debate with the scientists and some activities prepared by university students etc. Involvement of other local institutions in the project will give students a more in-depth view of how scientists work today.

• Košice is the second biggest city in Slovakia, so there is plenty to see and do relating both to Science and Art (it was European Capital of Culture in 2013). Besides sightseeing, we can visit Nature and Science museum – There are several sections relating to the project we can visit the exhibition presenting the history of the Earth, the origin of rocks and minerals, fossilized world, realm of minerals and beauty of stones – there are really beautiful and colourful “stones” on display – students will learn about the beauty (art) under the Earth´s surface – an element of environmental education

• The next two days of the meeting will be focused more on the artistic activities because the final product of this 5-day workshop will be exhibition called “Art under the microscope”. Students will paint or draw pictures of the objects they observed during previous days.

Firstly they will attend a lecture on different painting techniques and colour theory given by a local painter and gallerist Andrej Smolak who will be the curator of the exhibition. The lecture and the painting activities will take place in his art studio (atelier) or gallery. Students will paint on real canvas. They would have sketches, photos or scans of the object they want to paint prepared in advance during the observation at the school laboratory. They will learn that live cells and molecules are both fascinating subjects and also a great medium for contemporary art. They will try to capture the art of biological processes – beauty on a cellular level. Students can work in pairs or small groups if they won´t feel they are able to manage it on their own.

• The peak of the 5-day workshop will be the exhibition opening (vernissage) which will take place in a local Manor house. It is a historical building (former hunting castle) nowadays used by the town for different social events. The exhibition will be open for public and besides the teachers and students also parents will be invited for the opening ceremony – this way the project, its ideas and results will be disseminated to a wider audience and so that also local community and general public will be engaged in the project. Each of the exhibited paintings will have short captions with the basic information what it is, so the audience will see not just pretty pictures but they will learn something as well. Later on, the students and teachers from all schools in the town (primary and secondary) will be invited for the exhibition – dissemination of the project outcomes for the educational purposes.

• During the whole week students will work in groups, so there can be also one small group of students formed in the beginning of the week which will be responsible for the exhibition, they will not paint, but they will prepare programme for the opening ceremony e.g. invitations, refreshment, short music performance, speeches etc.