The aim of these talks is to stimulate conversation, comparison and debate about the ways we choose to pursue knowledge in our different fields. Like Borges in `The Aleph´, we want to suggest the infinity of our resources in just a paragraph of time. Innovation in research often comes from the `outside´, from someone who approaches an over-familiar problem with a totally fresh perspective. So we approach these talks in the hope of stumbling across unexpected inter-illuminations, perhaps from the act of observing something new, or from the act of being so observed. In Artscience: Creativity in the post-Google generation, David Edwards suggests an even more exciting possibility, that we might find ways of combining the aesthetic and the scientific to produce a `fused method´ that is at once `intuitive and deductive, sensual and analytical, comfortable with uncertainty and able to frame a problem embracing nature in its complexity and able to simplify to nature in its essence.´ He calls this fused method, `artscience´, and we will be exploring whether such a method could be forged here, whether inside the university or in collaboration with other organisations and individual artists, scholars and scientists.
In addition to these Encounters, there is an Arts-Science Network at Sheffield University for scholars interested in pursuing cross-faculty research. The Network can be used as a basis for finding new research partners, generating new projects and grant proposals, and linking up with similar initiatives taking place in the UK and internationally.