Laboratory Art in Practice: Building a Model for the Art/Science Lab at Duke (2022-2023)

Over the past decade, Duke faculty have initiated a range of humanities labs that enable novel configurations of interdisciplinary inquiry, including the WiredLab, Microworlds Lab, Health Humanities Lab, From Slavery to Freedom Lab and more. Whether modeled upon, or against, the traditional science lab, these initiatives have had limited engagement with the natural sciences. Rarely in these labs do the arts, humanities and sciences engage each other at the level of practice.

When science engages artistic practice, it is often in the service of science’s goals: for example, acknowledging the need for aesthetic design in scientific figures; appreciating the beauty of scientific imaging; or considering how visual and analytical skills might translate into scientific visual diagnostic acuity. However, emerging lab configurations point toward collaborative models that intersect more robustly at the level of practice: BioArt, critical engineering, creative code and other modes of critical making that productively entangle forms of engagement that would normally be kept separate by disciplinary divides.

Through a two-semester series of courses, members of the team explored critical making at the intersections of art, science and design by investigating different models of artistic practices while participating in laboratory work.

In the fall, team members were introduced to historical, ethical and social descriptions of experimental practice from within science studies; learned lab techniques (e.g., microscopy, dissection, immunostaining, keeping a lab notebook); and studied artwork that incorporates media, instruments and practices from the life sciences. In the spring, team members developed individual and group lab projects for exhibition and hosted visiting artists for studio critiques and workshops. Finally, they put on a public exhibition entitled re:process - semipermeable practices in art and science to share their work.


Fall 2022 – Spring 2023

Team Outputs

Explorations at the Intersections of Art and Science (2023 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Laboratory Art in Practice: Building a Model for the Art/Science Lab at Duke (Interactive Display presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 19, 2023)

Database of artists and institutions at the intersection of art and science; new artists/scholars networks


Noelle Garrick

This Team in the News

When Art and Science Meet as Equals

Meet the Members of the 2022-2023 Student Advisory Council

Meet the Winners of the 2022 Bass Connections Student Research Awards

See related team, Laboratory Art in Practice (2023-2024).


Image: Multi-Nucleated Muscle Cells Grown in Culture, by Kevin A. Murach, Ph.D., University of Kentucky/NIH Image Gallery, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Multi-Nucleated Muscle Cells Grown in Culture.

Team Leaders

  • Mark Olson, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
  • Nina Sherwood, Arts & Sciences-Biology
  • Kristen Tapson, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

/graduate Team Members

  • Amanda Bennett, Literature-PHD
  • Amal Dadi, Bioethics and Sci Policy - AM
  • Danqiong Fan, MFA/Experimental and Doc Arts
  • Alexis Bailey, Cell and Molecular Biology-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Kayla Lihardo, Neuroscience (AB)
  • Liuren Yin, Computer Science (BS)
  • Ava Wellener, Economics (AB)
  • Nicole Schwartz, Dance (AB)
  • Monika Narain, Physics (AB)
  • Julia Lin, Biology (BS)
  • Thanaporn Kusupholnand, Biology (BS)
  • Ayesham Khan, Interdepartmental Major
  • Zhamilya Karashukeyeva, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)
  • Jeffrey Hwang, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Eliza Henne, Art History (AB)
  • Olivia Garrick, Visual and Media Studies (AB)
  • Gayatri Chintala, Neuroscience (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Raquel Salvatella De Prada, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies
  • Eric P Spana, Arts & Sciences-Biology
  • Sarah Wilbur, Arts & Sciences-Dance

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Jasmine Lu, University of Chicago
  • Pinar Yoldas, University of California, San Diego