Source: University of Washington
(Image: “Terminology I,” one of Cowie’s works inspired by her 2016 residency in the Nemhauser lab. Credit Leo Berk)
Claire Cowie — an artist, UW alumna and lecturer — spent three months in 2016 as a part-time artist-in-residence in Nemhauser’s lab. On Feb. 3, Cowie will deliver a talk to share her experiences and help spread the word about the benefits both she and Nemhauser see in their unusual partnership.
“This was such an insightful and creative experience,” said Cowie, who earned a graduate degree in printmaking from UW and has taught at the university since 1999. “I hope that by sharing this story and describing the residency program, we can inspire other collaborations between scientists and artists.”
By her own admission, Nemhauser wanted to host an artist in the lab “for years.” She was motivated in part by a longstanding desire for new and creative ways to move science out of the lab and into the public sphere.
“I feel strongly that scientists, as public servants, must engage with the community in meaningful ways,” said Nemhauser. “And many artists are already operating in the public sphere. Art and design have tremendous influence on how we communicate ideas.”
Nemhauser also feels that scientists could benefit from the perspective that artists bring — especially in creative processes and abstract thought.