Is International Affairs and Political Science an Emerging Trend in art-science ?


Here is a draft input to the SEAD report 5 year update ( on enabling new forms of collaboration between Science Engineering Art and Design) for comment and discussion

This came up in a discussion with Annick Bureaud who is working with Emmanuel Mahe in Paris on a french report on emerging trends in art-science

. Do you agree that International Affairs and Political Science is an Emerging Trend  in art science ? Do you have other examples ?

Roger Malina

Art Science Technology, International Affairs and Political Science an Emerging Trend ?

Roger Malina, University of Texas at Dallas and Leonardo Publications, MIT Press.

Submitted to the SEAD study group snapshot update:

The art science technology community has a long history of socially engaged practice in a variety of forms from public art initiatives, to web art activism and engagement with ethical and societal issues from the environment to bio-art. In recent years a number of emerging actors from within political science and humanities disciplines have emerged, from social anthropologists to diplomats, economists, social scientist to disaster management experts. What is a new trend is the increasing involvement from professionals and researchers from within the political sciences in art-science activities. These initiatives re contextualized socially engaged art within the disciplines that engage with political and social organization.

Examples include:

  1. The activities of Bernard Stiegler and Ars Industrialis  a political and cultural group. An example of their approach is initiative launched by De Philippe Aigrain and five other officials by announcing that in the current period – which is also the preparatory climate conference organized by the UN in Paris from 30 November to 12 December this year – we would open a discussion on the future of Greece in Europe and the future of Europe in the world, opening new perspectives for Europe.

  1. The work of Bruno Latour at Science Po in Paris

The médialab at Sciences Po was founded in 2009 as a center of research and practice that connects the social sciences with new digital tools with the goal of bringing together a set of knowledge and capacities necessary for the development of a digital humanities. With its technical and methodological expertise, the médialab has become an essential partner in digitally-focused research projects in the human and social sciences. As the day-to-day activity of people and institutions becomes more and more oriented toward the web, the fact that the traces of these activities are easily recoverable using simple digital techniques offers a powerful field of observation for researchers in the social sciences.

  1. The Balance Un Balance series of conferences have been co sponsored by the the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, with the participation at the recent conference at Arizona State University of Pablo Suarez, the Associate Director for Research and Innovation at theRed Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

See for instance Breaking Paradigms: Electronic Arts & Humanitarian Actions Ricardo Dal Farra:  

  1. The International Studies Association has recently established the STAIR initiative ( Science, Technology, Arts and International Relations) :

Their statement of purpose indicates:

This newly chartered section recognizes that science, technology, and art are at the core of global politics. They shape much of the everyday reality of international security, statecraft, development, design of critical global infrastructures, approaches to social justice, and the practices of global governance. Science, technology and art (i.e., in the form of creativity, the arts, architecture and design) permeate international affairs in the form of material elements and networks, technical instruments, systems of knowledge and scientific practices. Yet, they also challenge existing conceptual approaches and prompt us to step beyond IR canons to seek inter-disciplinary collaborations. Through this new section we generate the space for international Relations (IR) as a discipline and field to engage these matters through productive intellectual research conversations with existing subsections as well as other disciplines. Our intention is that this will facilitate theoretical understandings of how we go about creating, assessing, and deliberating scientific, technological and artistic design and their impact on the shifts of contemporary world order. To use a methodological metaphor, if science, technology and art are held constant in most IR models, STAIR aims to make them variable!

  1. International Law:  The Legal Medium Conference in  2015, brought together leading artists and thinkers at Yale Law School to engage in a series of panels, presentations and performances about how artists use law as material in their work.   


  1. Amar Bakshi: Anartist who previously worked as a diplomat and journalist. Bakshi created a multimedia series for the Washington Post called How the World Sees America. He also worked as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and as managing editor of’s premier international analysis. At CNN, Amar created and hosted a live online show called Uncommon Ground, which connected people from around the world who would never otherwise meet.

  1. The Anti-Atlas Project , led by anthropologist Cedric Parizot has involved customs experts,civil servants, political scientists . For instance the theme of Managing International Migration? Visa Policies, Politics, and Practice  workshop to be held 28 September 2015 at the University of Oxford, UK. Their Anti-Atlas manifesto ( ) states: At the beginning of the 21st Century, the functions of State borders have changed.  Borders do not just contain but also overflow spaces, districts and jurisdictions. Borders are losing their linear aspects and are becoming more mobile and more diffuse in order to adapt to globalisation. Actors managing border control have also substantially multiplied. In addition to states, new stakeholders such as agencies, corporations, and NGOs have emerged as actors of border management. The ways in which people’s mobility is controlled are more and more diversified and differentiated. People have to pass through multiple networks and identification devices. All these mutations have to be analyzed in detail, using a wide range of modes of expression and critical too, The group has a broad art-science practice involving scientific research, art exhibitions and working groups with stakeholders from governments, agencies, corporations, and NGOs.

  1. The Bank of England has engaged artist Martin John Callanan, who will be working at the Bank over twelve months on a series of conceptual art projects.  Mr Callanan’s work – funded by the Leverhulme Trust and University College London – will reflect aspects of central banking, economics, finance and data.  

  1. Do readers have other projects that belong in this list ?

Submitted in response to:


Dear Colleagues,

We thank those who participated in the network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts, and Design (SEADreport, which was published this year as “Steps to an Ecology of Networked Knowledge and Innovation” (MIT Press, 2015).

The process that led to this report began about five years ago with a number of convenings supported by the US National Science Foundation, US National Endowment for the Arts, and US National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as internationally. We note that recently the European Commission also issued its ICT-Arts CONNECT report, launching the STARTS program, and there have been a number of transatlantic discussions. We think it would be useful to provide a “snapshot” update on significant developments over the past few years and would like to solicit your thoughts.


If you prefer to send comments offline, please email
Robert Thill:

For example, we note trends in the rising cost of education and concurrent number of MOOCs, DOCCs, and low-residency postdoc programs; the increasing number of STEAM initiatives; new phases in the maker/hacker phenomenon; ubiquity of 3D printing; increasing strength of social media “citizen justice” and “citizen science” fora; the rising need for peer review of transdisciplinary research and creative work; and the formation of new organisations such as a2ru in the USA.

We hope you might be willing to post a comment on this page with a very brief input of this kind, explaining why you think the particular update is important. We will synthesize all comments received and include them in a SEAD Update on the MIT Press publication.

We are looking for inputs by November 1, 2015.

SEAD will also host a panel discussion at the 2016 US College Art Association (CAA) conference, February 3-6 in Washington, DC. At this panel session, we will also present the results of the “snapshot” update.

Thank you, and best regards,

– Carol LaFayette, Carol Strohecker, Roger Malina and the SEAD network

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