A collaboration between Artists and Astronomers.

Lead Artists: Ione Parkin RWA and Gillian McFarland SSA

Creativity and Curiosity is an art/science project led by contemporary UK artists, Ione Parkin and Gillian McFarland, in connection with astrophysicists, cosmologists and planetary geologists.  Active engagement through discussions and creative dialogue has inspired a growing body of artwork that is being exhibited across the UK and internationally.

Recent exhibitions of artwork included a show at the Glasgow Science Centre in July 2019, about which Professor John Brown, OBE, 10th Astronomer Royal for Scotland, commented “I want heartily to congratulate C&C (plus your astro-collaborators) on creating and presenting such a visually stunning exhibition… I have myself long been engaged in and very supportive of a wide range of sci-art collaborations (magic, music, plays, poetry and images). However, I have never before experienced such a wonderful mix of materials/media and techniques brought to bear on creating such combinations of colour, texture and 3-D forms which are both beautiful in themselves and intensely evocative of planetary bodies, surfaces, nebulosities and events from fusion to impacts.”

This artist-led project originated through discussions with astronomers from the University of Leicester, leading on to involvement at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, Imperial College London, Birmingham University and Cardiff University. The project was launched at the Cambridge Science Festival 2017 with an exhibition, talks, panel discussions and workshops. Parkin and McFarland exhibited at the Zeiss-Gross Planetarium in Germany as part of the Berlin Science Week 2018, talked about the C&C project at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in September 2019, and have been selected for the Art of the Cosmos exhibition organised in connection with the Hubble Space Team (April 2020 - Pasadena, California). The project team has been awarded grants by the Royal Astronomical Society, the Hope Scott Trust and the Arts Council England.

The C&C team have undertaken Research Visits to the Royal Astronomical Society’s Library and the Science Museum’s Blythe House collection, with support from Arts Council England.

Invited/collaborating artists include: Kate Bernstein (book artist/printmaker), Daniella de Paulis (Astronomers Without Borders/Visual Moonbounce), Graeme Hawes (glass-blower), Colette Rayner (animation artist, The Netherlands) and Alison Lochhead (sculptor).

Ione Parkin RWA, Royal West of England Academician, Honorary Visiting Fellow, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester

Gillian McFarland, Scottish Society of Artists, Artist in Residence, De Montfort University, Leicester, Honorary Research Fellow, School of Genetics, University of Leicester.