Insight Out: Bringing ANU’s research to life through art

Karyn Starmer 8 March 2021
Our Internal Truths: The Enduring Lie

‘Our Internal Truths: The Enduring Lie’ by Samantha Thomas. Image: Supplied.

Insight Out is a new, visually stimulating and highly innovative exhibition showcasing interdisciplinary collaboration across the Australian National University (ANU).

On display at the university’s public art space, Exhibition Avenue from 8 March until 7 May 2021, this one-of-a-kind group show is presented by Kambri at ANU, in partnership with ANU Learning Communities and aMBUSH Gallery.

Designed to demonstrate the benefits of teamwork across diverse fields of study, Insight Out combines the ANU’s globally renowned academic research with the creativity of students from the School of Art and Design.

'Dealer's Choice' by Jody Thompson

‘Dealer’s Choice’ by Jody Thompson.

The project paired 24 visual arts students with an academic undertaking research at one of the University’s seven academic colleges: Arts and Social Sciences, Asia and the Pacific, Business and Economics, Engineering and Computer Science, Health and Medicine, Law, and Science.

Each pair met to discuss the academic’s research and interests, and consider how the most vital elements of the information could be conveyed to the general public. The artists were then given stylistic freedom to represent the research visually, in the form of a physical artwork. The resulting works traverse a range of disciplines, including painting, illustration, photography and digital art.

Flower Garden – by Isabela (Fuz) Buckley

Flower Garden – by Isabela (Fuz) Buckley. Image: Supplied.

Third-year Arts/Law student Jasmine Matz came up with the idea for the exhibition in preparation for her interview for the role of ANU student-sponsored events co-ordinator. She said she was elated to be given the task of bringing her idea to life.

“The strength of the exhibition is looking at the university as a whole and all that goes on inside it. This is a unique marriage of the different disciplines, knowledge and experiences of all the individuals involved,” Jasmine said.

Artist Samantha Corbett was paired with academic Maya Haviland from ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences to interpret Maya’s research on co-creativity, which Samantha ultimately chose to do via the medium of a mural.

“What was extremely challenging, but probably one of the most rewarding parts of the project, was trying to come up with a way to make the conceptual idea of co-creativity accessible to all types of public audiences,” Samantha explained.

Maya said, “I really loved seeing the reflection back of what are quite big ideas through Sam’s creative lens. It was great to see her find a way to translate that into a visual form, which is a bit of a dream for someone interested in translational research.”


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The 24 original pieces will be presented on six large-scale display cubes along University Avenue, providing an inviting gateway into the heart of Kambri that celebrates the University’s world-class research and teaching.

Decals placed on the ground in front of each artwork will summarise statements from both the artist and the academic, allowing viewers to gain a greater understanding of how the artistic interpretation came about and the academic study behind it. QR codes will also be sited nearby that link to more in-depth research papers and information that inspired the art and a longer statement from the artist.

Bill Dimas, the co-founder of aMBUSH Gallery, says, “We are thrilled to showcase world- class ANU research, as well as the incredible creative talent of School of Art and Design students. This project provides students with paid professional experience and the opportunity to be involved in a site specific public art project, and also demonstrates the power of collaboration within the ANU community and beyond.”

Opening night for INSIGHT OUT is Thursday, 11 March from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, hosted at the Fenner Courtyard, Kambri, at ANU. Drinks will be provided by Capital Brewing and Lerida Estate, with music from a Vessel Collective DJ. For more information, visit Kambri.

 To Mould; A Verb – by Sophie Dumaresq

To Mould; A Verb – by Sophie Dumaresq. Image: Supplied.


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