Seeing Science. Developing visualisation skills for science students: a cross-disciplinary drawing project.

  • Simon Betts: Dean of College, Wimbledon College of Arts

This Workshop starts at 11:45 in room T1009. Back to Parallel Session 2

Brief description of session and activities

The aim of this paper is to discuss the context, development and initial pilot data from a joint “Seeing Science” drawing and visualisation project. The project is a cross disciplinary collaboration between the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Sydney, the School of Medical Sciences at RMIT University, Melbourne, and Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London. The aim of this project is to develop a suite of bespoke on-line drawing tools for undergraduate biomedical students to support the development of visualisation skills using drawing and drawing pedagogical approaches to enhance engaged and imaginative enquiry; skills central to observation and representation fundamental in the learning, understanding and explanation of the biomedical sciences.

There is a significant and growing body of literature that provides evidence of the way that an engagement with the science curriculum via visual and drawing strategies supports and enhances science students learning and enquiry.  I will discuss some of this work by citing, for example, the work of Mathewson, Schonborn & Anderson and Frankel. I will also touch on the University of the Arts London Drawing Certificate, which promotes drawing to enhance learning across disciplines and provides the instructional framework for this project.

 I will present and discuss the initial results of a collaborative science/drawing lesson conducted with biomedical science students. Using visual material I will discuss the cross-disciplinary pedagogical approach used and students responses to the drawing tutorial within the science lesson

 I will present the ‘on-line Drawing Tutorial’ devised and produced at Wimbledon College of Art and using visual examples discuss the results of a ‘pre and post’ evaluation of the drawing tutorial performed with biomedical science students in Melbourne and Sydney. This initial evidence suggests such interventions can improve the confidence of students in observation and representation via drawing anatomical forms.  

Will students be involved in the session? If so how?


What will participants take away from the session?

  • The cross disciplinary potential for art & design pedagogy. 
  • The close relationship between science and art, and the possibilities for trans-disciplinary course design. 
  • New approaches to teaching that support today’s contexts.