Art as a Pathway to Scientific Awareness and Action: Leveraging Art to Communicate Science and Engage Local Communities for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System
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Scientists are aware of the need to effectively communicate their research to the public, decision-makers, and funders in new and creative ways. Additionally, an ever-growing number of artists are addressing environmental issues, and funders are beginning to see this work as relevant. This is leading to the increase of interdisciplinary collaborations between the arts and sciences. NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) attempts to address environmental concerns and protect estuaries by partnering with 29 coastal states to monitor estuary health and manage coastal resources. To accomplish their goal of encouraging stewardship of estuaries in local communities, the NERRS is seeking new ways to communicate monitoring data, and the threats that face these crucial ecosystems. NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management and the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA) have expressed interest in expanding art-science collaborations nationally. Using a literature and case study review, informational interviews, and a survey, this project built upon existing programs within the NERRS to support transitioning the initiative to a national level, with the hope that research and data can become more accessible and relatable to communities throughout the nation. The information included in this report and the client deliverable sought to answer four research questions: 1) what are the benefits and challenges of using art to communicate science?, 2) can art help different learning styles comprehend and retain scientific data and concepts?, 3) what practices have been used to successfully complete art and science collaboratives?, and 4) where and why has the NERRS used art to communicate science in the past? We found that funding does not have strong institutional support, and further research and assessment is needed in order to further art-science collaborations’ impact. However, art-science collaborations can play an important role in increasing stewardship. Therefore, expanding upon art-science collaborations in the NERRS to nationally leverage art could help increase stewardship and engagement among communities. Reserve scientists are extremely interested in participating in art-science collaborations, and in creating an artist-in-residence program at Research Reserves. With increased national support, art-science collaborations could make a significant impact on stewardship and engagement within reserve communities.
Subjectart science collaborations
National Estuarine Research Reserve System
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
CitationHorton, Savannah (2019). Art as a Pathway to Scientific Awareness and Action: Leveraging Art to Communicate Science and Engage Local Communities for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18386.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment