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Art and science to explode in a festival of experimentation and fun


Sharlene King
15 August 2018

From the US space agency NASA to festivalgoers at Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass, Southern Cross University’s arts-science collaborations have been wowing audiences around the globe. Now it’s Lismore’s turn, when Southern Cross brings its world-renowned creative researchers to the Arts Vs Science Festival on Saturday August 18 to celebrate National Science Week.

Lismore’s newest creative playground, The Quad, will be immersed in a day of science, art and music at the third Arts Vs Science Festival, giving the Northern Rivers community the opportunity to explore the practical yet exquisite applications of science in our lives.

Here’s a sample of what Southern Cross is up to at Arts Vs Science Festival:

  • Find out what sharks are like from a drone’s perspective                 2pm at Gallery Bright Ideas Forum

PhD student Andrew Colefax is using drones to research shark behaviour and develop drone-based shark detection. He’ll share the majesty of this much-feared predator, dispel some misconceived myths, and discuss people-management.

  • Timelapsing Australia from Space             11am at Gallery Bright Ideas Forum

Associate Professor Grayson Cook was thrilled when NASA gave the thumbs up to his art-science video project, ‘Open Air’ which merges the space agency’s Landsat 8 satellite imagery of Australia with aerial views of landscape paintings, all set to a soundscape.

“It’s not only scientists who are inspired by these satellite images. As ‘Open Air’ demonstrates, the imagery gives artists the ability to produce new methods of responding to the earth in both intellectual and emotional ways,” said Professor Cooke who will be showing highlights of the project at Arts Vs Science Festival.

  • What Makes Frogs Croak?           12pm at Gallery Bright Ideas Forum

Fresh from his appearance at Splendour in the Grass (complete with frog suit), Dr David Newell will share and explain some of the frog calls he’s collected. Why? Northern NSW is a frog hotspot and one of the best ways to identify and monitor the health of our amphibians (many are under threat) is by recording and analysing their croaks.

  • Gastrophysics           12.30pm at Gallery Bright Ideas Forum

Food historian Associate Professor Adele Wessell will explore the sensory experience of food, how that relates to chemical properties and physical texture, and the food’s transformation in our mouths.

“You might even pick up some hints on how to manipulate the taste buds. After all, it’s what we think we’re going to eat that matters most,” Professor Wessell said.

  • Wastenowaste               All day at Lismore Regional Gallery foyer

Writers, artists, musicians and social scientists from the School of Arts and Social Sciences have collaborated to produce a creative multimedia installation about waste recovery at the Lismore Recycling and Recovery Centre.

  • Plus a design by Charly Crossing, a digital media and communications student, is the official event poster.


Get along to the Music on the Green stage for a musical performance and digital sound work performed by three musicians and various electronics.

  • The work Musicians and Light Data #2: (at 1.30pm), composed, directed and produced by Southern Cross University’s Dr Barry Hill, with Cye Wood on violin and Barry Hill on bass and electronics, will feature sound created using a live digital data feed from the SCU Sunflower Solar Energy Generator.
    (Barry will also be talking about solar energy and music festivals in the Bright Ideas Forum at 2.30pm.)
  • Clancy Menzies (10.30am) moved to Lismore from Bellingen at the start of 2017 to pursue her music career and study music at Southern Cross University. The 21-year-old is currently planning to go to the UK in January for a few months to further develop her musical experience. Find her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.



Arts Vs Science Festival

Saturday 18 August

10am - 4pm

The Quadrangle (Quad)

110 Magellan Street (corner of Keen Street), Lismore


All Arts Vs Science Festival activities are free due to the generosity the Northern Rivers Science Hub partners and the ongoing sponsorship of the Australian Government through its Inspiring Australia Program.