Drawing Conversations 3: Drawing Talking to the Sciences


24 July 2019 11:00
Image of Emma Stibbons painting called 'Glacier Terminus, Antartica' 2013 © Emma Stibbon RA
Emma Stibbon RA, 'Glacier Terminus, Antarctica'. (2013). Courtesy of the artist

Call for Papers

In recent years, there has been increasing investment in developing relationships between art and the sciences through collaborative projects. Residencies, publications and exhibitions are bringing artists and scientists together to look for cross-disciplinary solutions to complex shared problems. Alongside prominent work in digital and media arts, there are a growing number of artists and scientists forging such relationships around graphic practices. Drawing is historically associated with knowledge generation and critical investigation. Today drawing continues to work across the porous boundary between observation and expression, empiricism and invention in a range of investigative practices.

Drawing Conversations 3: Drawing Talking to Sciences assesses the potential for drawing to make meaningful contributions to knowledge outside the arts by bringing together examples of drawing used to co-investigate. ‘Sciences’ is used in the most inclusive sense, embracing all forms of thorough investigation, spanning anthropology to physics, conservation to mathematics, forensics to zoology.

Hosted by The Ruskin Museum of the Near Future, the theme builds on John Ruskin’s advocacy of drawing as a way of seeing and understating the world and his prescient understanding of the impact of industrialisation on the natural environment. For Ruskin, it was drawing that facilitated close and careful examination of subjects that sensitised the drawer to notice. For instance, his daily practice of drawing enabled him to track and measure changes in weather patterns and air quality.

Drawing Conversations invites submission of artworks and papers about contemporary and historical examples of drawing which build relationships with or demonstrate engagement between drawing and the sciences. While not limited to these we are particularly interested in work that addresses

  • Drawing providing solutions to research problems outside the creative arts
  • Innovative graphic approaches, technologies or languages adapted to current science challenges
  • Drawing as an alert practice of noticing in science, as measurement, index, catalogue or document that communicates, perhaps where other technologies fail. 
  • How artists develop new approaches to drawing that enable them to notice and record the previously unnoticed.
  • Drawing as a tool for synthesizing ideas and data from different disciplines
  • Parallels between methods of drawing and activity in other fields of research
  • The role of drawing in enhancing or extending current scientific fieldwork practices.
  • How drawing adapts to new and challenging natural and non-natural environments
  • Drawing which investigates new or changing human practices, behaviours or beliefs.
  • Entanglements and symbiotic relationships between drawing and ecology
  • How does drawing enable us to speculate and plan for future ecologies and lifeways?


To submit a paper

Please send an abstract of up to 300 words to Gerry Davies, Helen Gorrill and Sarah Casey


Conference exhibition

An exhibition of drawings related to the conference theme will be exhibited as part of the conference and artists will have the opportunity to discuss their work during the proceedings. The exhibition will look at the potential of drawing used as an investigative tool to make meaningful contributions to knowledge outside the arts. The exhibition complements the conference papers with visual examples of how drawing today continues to work across the porous boundary between observation and expression, empiricism and invention in a range of investigative practices. Using the term ‘science’ in the most inclusive way, the exhibition aims to bring together a range of examples of contemporary drawing undertaking research in dialogue with scientific investigation. We particularly welcome drawing that respond to the issues listed above.


Drawing submission requirements

  • 2 images of the drawing (installation shot and detail). Images must be no more than 2MB.
  • a 200 word description of the work including any information about hanging requirements.
  • 100 words artist biography.

Please email this information to Gerry Davies, Helen Gorrill and Sarah Casey

Exhibition dates are 10th -17th January. Please note Art work must be delivered to Lancaster University by 7th January. We will deinstall the exhibition after the conference and works should be removed by artists at that time.

Deadline for abstracts and artworks : Tuesday 24th September 5pm

For any questions about submitting a paper or drawing please contact Helen Gorrill in the first instance.