Beyond Engagement: Meaningful Relationships Among Experts And Publics In The Performing Arts And Sciences
This dissertation investigates the ways artists and scientists work together and the ways they think about audiences. Each of the three cases bring together collaborators from diverse fields to develop live performances and presentations. Two of these cases focus on art/science collaborations, and the third focuses on audience participation. Through close analysis of these cases, I examine collaboration between artists and scientists, the relationship between audiences and experts, and the way these two relationships complicate each other. The first two cases were art/science collaborations in which I was a participant observer. The first, Dance of Scales, was a multimedia event featuring dance and physics. In the second case, I worked with another group of artists and scientists to create Emergence, a play developed to further explore scientific research through narrative and participatory experiences. The aim of these projects was to closely examine the collaborative process between artists and scientists, but the studies led to interesting questions about the nature of the relationships developed between presenters and audiences, the subject of the third case. This case investigated questions about the relationship between audiences and experts through the development of an audience participation system. The system, called Frontstage, was tested in a museum context, at a performance, and at a conference for undergraduate engineering students. Each of these uses revealed different !iii aspects of the program, as well as the relationship between the presenters and the audiences in these varied contexts. These three cases led me to focus on the relationships between expression, explanation, interpretation, and understanding, and to identify the ways these relationships function in different styles of events. Through discussions between artists and scientists involved in the project, I found that explanation can be characterized a constrained form of expression and that, though not a perfect analogy, understanding can be characterized as the way audiences interpret constrained expressions. I also found that understanding could lead to opportunities for richer interpretation. These ways of conceptualizing expression and interpretation led me to question the paradigmatic model of science communication, public engagement, and to begin to think about how scholars and practitioners might rethink the way we approach science communication. !iv
art and science; public engagement with science; audience participation
Lewenstein, Bruce VossLewenstein, Bruce Voss
Gay, Geraldine K; Gillespie, Tarleton L.; Gay, Geraldine K; Gillespie, Tarleton L.; Lynch, Michael E.
Ph. D., Communication
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis