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Lauren

Lauren Black

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Tasmania Arts - Visual > General
Arts - Visual > Literature And History
To investigate how art stimulates engagement with medical, botanical and historical collections - UK, France, Italy
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From March 6th – June 15th 2018 I travelled to the UK, France Italy and Denmark to visit museums, libraries, art galleries and historical sites that are integral to the documentation and preservation of scientific history. My main interest was with botanical and medical collections and the role the artist plays in engaging a wide audience with these collections. More broadly the Fellowship also encompassed viewing general history and art collections.
 
In visiting collections the three main areas of investigation were:

1. The overall collections and how they were curated and exhibited. This included the permanent display of general collections as well as special exhibitions.

2. Viewing significant and rare items from botanical and medical collections that have had, and continue to have influence on my work and the arts genre. Numerous requests were made to institutions before I commenced travel so that items were ready for me to view on arrival. These items were all of an historical nature and centered on rare illustrated manuscripts, artworks, botanical specimens and book collections. When considering items to select for study, I chose material that would:

  • Provide me with an historical context for the development of botanical and medical art as a way of documenting and revealing science
  • Reveal historical art techniques through the work of past masters
  • Have a future influence on my work

3. Whether contemporary artists have or had worked with the collections or institutions, with my main focus being on botanical and medical science. I was particularly interested in how artists are able to reveal and bring new understanding to collections, the role they are able to play in making science and history both visible and accessible, and creative arts capacity to be a vehicle for reflection and new understanding. If artists had not worked with the collections I was interested in why, and whether this would be something that would be considered in the future.

Keywords: Art, illustration, botanical, medical, science, museum, gallery

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