This blog will aim to explore topics that are related to science, art & society and the connections between these; and often with a focus on the climate emergency. Although I moved from the world of science into the world of applied information management more than three decades ago, I retain a strong interest in science and how it is communicated. I have, since my retirement, spent an increasing amount of my time painting, and I have started to write about that as well.
In an article that the playwright Eugene Ionesco wrote in 1980 for the USC Chronicle he said:
“Culture cannot be separated from politics. The arts, philosophy and metaphysics, religion and the sciences, constitute culture. Politics are the science or art of organizing our relationships to allow for the development of life in society. But, in our time, politics have overtaken all other manifestations of the human spirit …”.
Today, politicians too often seem ill equipped to translate science into effective policy. Snow’s “Two Cultures” are alive and well, and our institutions too often poorly represented by scientists – in Whitehall, the BBC, and elsewhere. All the more reason to explore the connections between science, art and the humanities.
I helped start a local group Nailsworth Climate Action Network around the time of the Paris Agreement, and spend a lot of time engaging with the local community. I am a Fellow of the think tank The Schumacher Institute based in Bristol, which engages in multidisciplinary initiatives to develop ideas and tools for action on sustainability.
Discussions on climate change are often dominated by a technical framing, but we need a diversity voices – historians, engineers, artists, geographers, entrepreneurs, scientists, farmers, ecologists, poets and many more – to grapple with and make sense of our situation; how we got here, and to envision a net zero future, founded on justice, well-being and sustainability.
In a small way, through my love of art and science, I will try to explore these themes from my own particular point of view, experiences and knowledge (along with a few other pet topics that catch my eye).
My writings here are in a personal capacity.
Richard W. Erskine, Gloucestershire, UK