Kelly Whitmer (History), Jeff Thompson (Art History) and Shelley MacLaren (Art History/University Art Gallery) recently won an ACA/UNCA Undergraduate Research Award to pursue a project entitled "Science and Art: Collections, Exhibitions and the Production of Knowledge." The project aims to generate new approaches to interdisciplinary undergraduate research in the humanities on the campus of the University of the South.
"Science and Art: Collections, Exhibitions and the Production of Knowledge" is concerned with creating opportunities to explore existing and historical systems of visual representation and knowledge production. For at least 20 years, art historians, artists, historians of science and scientists have been engaged in extended conversations aimed at better understanding—and historicizing—relationships between image making, visual culture(s) and the production of knowledge. This collaborative project uses these conversations as a place in which to anchor and ultimately foster more dialogue and creative collaborations among students and faculty in the arts and sciences at Sewanee. Despite a longstanding tendency to imagine an impassable and even necessary divide between the “two cultures” (humanities and sciences), a focus on visual culture(s) draws attention to their shared practices, interplay and common ground. The project will be organized around three focal points, including: 1) Cabinets of Curiosity, 2) Exhibitions, Collections and Intellectual Life, and 3) Art and the Scientific Imagination.