The Reconciliation of Art + Sci

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Virginia Tech

In current higher education paradigms, art and science are often siloed fields rather than subjects that inform each other. This dichotomy or hyper-specialization of art and science in higher education is a result of the industrial revolution with production as the telos. The product of this educational paradigm divorces art and science from each other. But how should we educate students for jobs that don't exist today? What learning environments are most conducive to creativity and innovation? What are the potential benefits of teaching art and science as one? What disciplines would work best together? Are their patterns in ones perception of the relationship between art and science? Are trans-disciplinary learning environments a possibility or an ideal?

This thesis investigates the hypothesis that the walls between art and science exist only in our minds.

This research consists of 27 one-on-one interviews conducted with students, professors and other higher education affiliates, who visualize the relationship between art and science.) The interviews use everyday objects as prompts to build a baseline to the investigation. The instrument consisted of seven questions that investigated if the use of quotidian, everyday, objects as prompts expose the false dichotomy between art and science. Additionally, the research tries to uncover the possible patterns that exist in how disciplines visualize/diagram the relationship between art and science. Each participant was asked to draw how they view the relationship between art and science. The researcher used these drawings as data points to lead the analysis.

The researcher developed a series of field notes (thinking sketches) as interpretations of the themes of the participant's drawings. These thinking sketches were then translated into four thinking prototypes (three-dimensional models) which later inform the development of four simple yet profound findings called quotidian proverbs.

Education, Higher Education reform, science, art