Cultural Negotiation of Science (CNoS)

Newcastle & Gateshead

The Cultural Negotiation of Science (CNoS) brings together artists, academics and research students whose practices engage with expert cultures across a broad spectrum of science and technology. Based at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, CNoS seeks to reach across public and research communities to develop a performative approach to the production of knowledge that actively challenges the use of art as an instrumental or illustrative device to interpret science.

CNoS was founded in 2013 through the production of Extraordinary Renditions: The Cultural Negotiation of Science, an exhibition and symposium for the British Science Festival that showed how artists work with renditions of science outside its bio-medical, fundamental or technical parameters. The project took place at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, allowing a large public audience access to the compelling questions thrown up when artists negotiate scientific practices — questions that often require artists to perform ‘extraordinary renditions’ across the ethical and political spaces in which personal vulnerability and risk-taking is impossible to avoid.

The unique structure of CNoS allows it to occupy a distinct position in the field of art:science research. Its members are a mixture of current and former staff of Northumbria University as well as doctoral researchers and alumni who, collectively, bring extensive networks of collaborative working. Recent partnerships include the Anatomy Department, Kings College London (Daksha Patel) Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary, Kerala, India (Sian Bowen), Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh (Christine Borland) and The Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (Fiona Crisp).

The network has strong links with external organisations in the contemporary art sector regionally, nationally and internationally, and are core contributors to the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art. Artist members work from their studios, engaging with CNoS as a forum for sharing insights gained through the exchange of disciplinary practices. This form of research through practice is exemplified by Ways of Working, an event recently hosted by CNoS in collaboration with the Biochemical Society and Newcastle University’s Institute for Creative Arts Practice (NICAP) that addressed questions common to the arts, sciences and humanities – around ways of seeing, methods of working, and approaches towards developing interdisciplinary practice which may generate innovative outcomes, but where innovation is not intrinsically linked to progress.

CNoS is committed to supporting the development of innovative, practice-based methods which re-vision the relationships between scientific and artistic research, leading to artistic outcomes which can enable community engagement as well as generate wider socio-political impact.

c/o Northumbria University College Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST

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