Why create SciArt? An investigation into science artists' goals and professional journeys


Science art (or SciArt) is a fast-growing mode of creative visual expression that draws inspiration from science. Heralded for its ability to engage audiences at a deep, emotional level, it has captured the interest of the scholarly community. This interest in SciArt has resulted in a wealth of creative projects — produced by individual “science artists” or through collaborations between scientists and artists — aimed at broadening the public impact of research.

Despite a rising interest in SciArt within science and science communication, relatively little is known about the perspectives of the creators themselves. This lack of knowledge limits the potential for supporting science artists’ work and ensuring collaborations between science and artists are productive and mutually rewarding. This qualitative study seeks to fill this gap by identifying and documenting the self-described creative journeys and goals of practicing science artists. Using a rich dataset of 131 interviews with SciArt creators that were published on the blog of Art the Science (ATS),1 we conducted a qualitative analysis of these creators’ journeys, or paths, into the creation of SciArt, external or audience-focused goals, and internal or creator-focused goals. We present and compare our findings with those found in existing literature and discuss implications for both research and practice. We see this study as a necessary first step towards better understanding SciArt creators and forging more egalitarian and effective partnerships between SciArt creators, scientists, and science communicators.

Back To Top