What is Creative Science?
Creative Science is run by Dr. Niamh Kelly, associate professor in Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine, UBC. The project brings university students from the arts and sciences together in dedicated groups, with the goal of providing mentorship to High School students, in an online forum, as they work on individual projects representing a concept in their science curriculum by producing a creative/artistic piece. Since its inception in Vancouver schools in 2010, it has engaged 300+ High School students and over 100 university mentors.
Our reasons for conceiving this program are:
- to introduce students to different ways of learning
- to improve attitudes toward science among High School age students (who are the future generation of people governing the world)
- to connect the Sciences and the Arts, which are both creative enterprises, and give students more confidence in their abilities in both
- to expose students to university role models, and get them thinking about their future goals and dreams
Dr Kelly was inspired to begin this project in 2010 by the work of UBC Medical students who took part in the annual art competition “Heartfelt Images” – these students were challenged by their course director, Dr Carol Ann Courneya, to create artistic representations of the human heart. Dr Kelly and Dr Courneya then began a collaboration with Gladstone Secondary School in Vancouver, whereby all grade 12 Biology students were challenged to represent the cardiovascular system with an artwork or creative piece. Since then, several other schools have taken part in Creative Science, in different grades and various areas of the science curriculum including DNA Replication and Protein Synthesis, and Art and Body Systems.
The first three years of this program have resulted in a very high calibre of artistic work ranging from visual art to photography; from culinary art to fabric art; from short stories, novellas and comic books to a Shakespearean play; and from board games to YouTube videos. A selection of these works can be viewed on our Previous Projects page.
Effect on High School students
High School students working on Creative Science to date have produced works of a consistently high quality, and have been enormously enriched by this unique approach to learning.