Art meets science at AFBI & Catalyst Arts

Alice Clark  (Artist- at-Sea) with Walter Crozier (AFBI) reviewing the drawings from her time on board the RV Corystes
Alice Clark (Artist- at-Sea) with Walter Crozier (AFBI) reviewing the drawings from her time on board the RV Corystes

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), in partnership with Catalyst Arts in Belfast, have hosted for the first time an “Artist in Residence” aboard its research ship the RV Corystes.

The Belfast based artist, Alice Clark joined AFBI scientists on two research expeditions as they carried out scientific studies in the Irish Sea. Alice is particularly interested in the interface between science and art and was keen to show how science can become an art form in itself and to demonstrate its importance in our everyday lives.

Alice Clark's sketches of the gannets in flight

Alice Clark's sketches of the gannets in flight

AFBI’s research vessel is 53m in length and fully equipped to carry out a wide range of fish stock assessments, environmental and ecosystem monitoring and sea bed mapping in the Irish Sea. This work is carried out for government and private sector customers.

During her time on board Alice watched the scientists at work and they, in turn, had the opportunity to explain the relevance of AFBI’s work to the sustainability and development of the Irish Sea. Alice “drew” the ship’s movements using a pen suspended from the ceiling of her cabin, produced a daily blog and recorded her observations as a series of drawings, including sketches of gannets as they followed the ship and mackerel and other sea life that were caught as part of the scientific study.

Once back on dry land, Alice gave a talk at Catalyst Arts on her experiences. She highlighted the insight she had gained on the relevance of this marine science programme to the environment in the Irish Sea. A number of AFBI staff were also present to discuss the benefits to them, especially appreciating how Alice was able to bring a new dimension and outlook on their science.

Edel O’Reilly and Michaela Butler, co-directors at Catalyst Arts, expressed their appreciation to both Alice and AFBI and said: “We are delighted that Artist-At-Sea has been such a success. We hope to work with AFBI again to bring the creativity of art and science together in unique and exciting ways to increase the public understanding of science.”

Gannets following the ship

Gannets following the ship

Alice’s blog and pictures from her time on the RV Corystes can be found at http://www.catalystarts.org.uk/artist-at-sea/ Email: catalystarts@gmail.com.