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Creativity: Art + Science

Date: 22 August 2014
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Janice Lally PhD

A fascination with modes of thinking, the nature of creativity as well as the neuro-physiological basis of these have led me to pursue work within the domains of art and science throughout my adult life. My conviction, through my own experience, that the practices of art and science are varied dimensions of the same spectrum has driven my continuing engagement with art and science. This presentation will discuss some of the ways in which I have worked within art and science including collaborative partnerships with artists and scientists and some outcomes from these projects.

Janice Lally‚Äôs career combines art gallery and art museum directorship, management, research and curatorship with her work as an independent consultant and arts manager in the visual arts, crafts, design, public art and cultural heritage sectors in Australia, Berlin and Hong Kong since 1986. Her earlier career was as a research scientist working in biochemistry and molecular biology.  She holds a MSc in Clinical Biochemistry from Flinders University. Her research at the Australian National University included Neurophysiology, Biochemistry and Zoology. Her work in molecular biology continued in Medicine and Biochemistry at UWA. Working in both the science and art arenas, she completed a BA Hons (Fine Art) at UWA and focussed on fulltime work in the arts. However, the  passion for both domains continued. They came together again in 2003 in her PhD awarded by the University of Melbourne, Department of History and Philosophy of Science/Fine Arts for her thesis The Aboriginal Collection in the Berlin Museum of Ethnography. In 1990, as inaugural Public Art Manager for Arts South Australia, she was invited to establish the Public Art Program,  which  accrued national and international acclaim. Later, as Curator of Public Art for the City of Adelaide, she initiated a public art project, Sensing with Light, by John Tonkin, the interactive new media artist. This was commissioned in partnership with the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing, University of Adelaide in 2010 and is now in final stages of production.

As Gallery Director and Curator at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design, then as Curator at Flinders University Art Museum, both in SA, Janice curated and managed numerous exhibitions. This included national and international touring exhibitions such as Ritual of Tea for the Adelaide Festival of Arts 2002 which toured to Object Gallery, Sydney and Light Black (2003-4) that travelled to Japan and Taiwan.Prism: Contemporary Australian Art (2006) featuring 74 works involved 35 artists and 20 lenders, both public and private, was developed in partnership with the Bridgestone Museum of Art for the Ishibashi Foundation, Japan, for tour to Tokyo.

Janice invited contemporary artists to work with the Flinders University Art Museum  collection and to collaborate with a neuroscientist and anatomist for the exhibition Identity: Portraits and Places- document or insight? (2007).  Six major SA artists were also commissioned to produce new works relating to art and science for Not Absolute (2009). As inaugural Manager, Art for Public Places (1990-97) and Senior Project Officer (1997-2000) at Arts SA she prepared policy and guidelines to support public art projects and new initiatives including the SALA Monograph. Her current position as Curator of Public Programs at the UWA Museums - including the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery and Berndt Museum - enables her to work across disciplines, also collaborating with Campus Partners in the humanities and sciences. This brings together her interest in extending and communicating ideas through art and science. Janice served as a Board Member for four years for the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (2000-4) and is currently a member of the International Council of Museums, Museums Australia, Australian Experimental Art Foundation and Contemporary Art Centre of SA.