A critical issue we set out to prevent is using art as a neat addition to scientific projects, what the art chair of Lafayette College Ed Kerns has described as “inviting artists to come in and paint the rocket.” We wanted the students to ask instead: What is the rocket? What does the rocket do? How do I perceive it? How can I move from looking at the rocket to really seeing it?
We chose to avoid the use of one discipline simply to illustrate or demonstrate an idea from the other. We used art and neuroscience to discuss how we currently understand our world and investigate how scientists and artists go about shaping that understanding.
Our method as teachers was to engage in conversations with our students and one another, modeling the curious attention we were asking them to exhibit. We asked questions of one another, commented on and challenged one another’s assertions, and encouraged our students to do the same.
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