Abstract artistic watercolor splash

Explore creative relationships at the intersections of science and arts

Module details

Offered to 1st years
Tuesdays 16.00-18.00
8 weeks (autumn term only)
Non-credit only

How to enrol

This module considers historical and contemporary cross-disciplinary interactions between science, art and design. Its focus is on the productive relationship between these practices in their endeavours to understand and represent the world. We will reflect on the ways in which scientists have relied on artists to help shape and define their observation and image making practices, and question some of the assumptions about perception and vision that underpin how images are made and used in science.

The module will look at crossovers in processes, skills, knowledge and values between the fields of art, science and design. We will discuss key concepts in current thinking on art and science and examine the social, cultural and ethical questions brought forward by artistic practices that engage with scientific themes and processes. Classes will include gallery visits and creative, hands-on exercises.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

Students chatting

  • Acquire an informed understanding of the relationships between science, art and design
  • Understand how historical depth can enhance our understanding of key science, art and design concepts
  • Articulate informed opinion about these science, art and design categories, through presentation and peer feedback of class projects
  • Develop appropriate vocabulary to discuss parallels, overlaps and distinctions between the fields of science, art and design through research, field trips and class discussion
  • Apply key concepts, research, and feedback to produce an analytical essay or video essay

Indicative core content

Student doing craft work

  • Observation: the use of artistic understanding and scientific technologies to see new worlds
  • Communication: scientific techniques in art production and artistic expressions of scientific knowledge
  • Modelling: materialising concepts in art and science
  • Representation: visual analysis of relationships and form to extrapolate new theories
  • Physiognomy: controversial matters at the intersection of art, diagnosis and surgery
  • Mapping: techniques for the visual display of information and their implications
  • Collecting: practices of classification and display at the intersection of art and science
  • Contemporary endeavours: contemporary collaborative practices actively defined as SciArt


  • Final essay (50%): 1500–2000 words to be submitted at the end of the module in response to a question engaging with themes addressed in class
  • Exercises (30%): brief writing and creative exercises explained in class
  • Class participation (20%): constructive participation in class discussion, peer feedback, use of Blackboard and completion of required class preparation

Key information

  • ECTS value: 0
  • Requirements: You must be prepared to attend all classes and to spend about an hour a week preparing for each session
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 4 module. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]
"Really interesting module which complements my other courses. Trips to London museums were a highlight ..... Very enjoyable."
"I very much appreciated tackling different aspects of the duality of science and art."