ASCUS Art & Science is a non-profit, volunteer organisation based in Edinburgh committed to bridging the gap between the arts and sciences. The organisation launched in 2008 with an exhibition of work by Dr Emma Hambly, who was then in her final year of Fine Art – BA (Hons) at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). This inaugural exhibition was put together by what was then “The Art Collective”, which worked out of the School of GeoSciences at University of Edinburgh. It was founded by Dr James Howie and Dr Paul Parrish (then a PhD student and a post doctoral research fellow, respectively, at the School of GeoSciences).
Since its launch, the collective has worked on a range of cross-disciplinary projects, micro-residencies, exhibitions, workshops and events. “ASCUS is neither an arts nor a scientific body,” the group say, “but an organisation dedicated to developing art-science intersections”. Its name changed to ASCUS in 2010, named after a type of cell found in lichen – a structure formed by symbiosis across two different kingdoms (fungi and plants). ASCUS Art & Science registered as a non-profit in 2013. Among their staff are two graduates of the Art, Space & Nature programme at ECA, Miriam Walsh and Mark Eischeid.
Previous projects include:
This was an exhibition of works that intertwined art and science which showcased at “How The Light Gets In” for the 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival (EISF), which ASCUS co-curated with EISF and Summerhall.
A participatory art project working with Dr Sarah Brown of the University of Dundee and Eczema Outreach Scotland, where artists Trevor Gordon and Josie Vallely delivered creative activities to families affected by the condition across Scotland.
Artists are Present
In partnership with the British Neuroscience Association, Festival of Neuroscience 2015, this initiative placed artists in the heart of scientific conferences.
ASCUS is also developing it most ambitious project to date, ASCUS Lab, a publically accessible laboratory for experimentation in art and science, due to launch early this year.
In a recent exhibition held at the Tent Gallery in Evolution House, work by ECA graduates Mark Doyle (Painting – BA (Hons) [graduated 2005]) and Anne Milne (Film Directing – MA [graduated 2010]) was on display. The other artists exhibiting were Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman. The Transmissions Art-Science exhibition took place 27th November – 4th December 2015, and was a showcase of work that had been created during the 2015 ASCUS Art & Science micro-residency, held at the Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution at University of Edinburgh.