Bridging the Gap Between Science and Art

Nurturing the relationship between science and art was the goal of a recent workshop hosted by CSAIL Associate Professor Fox Harrell, who splits his time between CSAIL and teaching Digital Media in the Comparative Media Studies and Writing and Humanistic Studies programs at MIT. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Harrell brought together 55 intellectual leaders- including university deans, professors, artists and scientists- from the worlds of art, social science and computer research to lay the foundation for collaboration between the two realms. Re/Search: Art, Science and Information Technology | A Joint Meeting of the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts was aimed at promoting discussion on how both scientific and humanities-based research could be used to achieve mutual goals, for example reaching a better understanding of human societies through technology and creating more creative computational systems by using methods typically implemented in the humanities. While bridging the gap between the worlds of art and science is not a new concept, Harrell’s workshop broke ground in that attendees were encouraged to participate in follow-up activities, including creating a space online to share results from the conference, writing a paper on the workshop for an academic journal, developing new models for funding joint research between the arts and sciences and drafting interdisciplinary tenure requirements. Read more about Harrell's work here.