Humanities to the rescue in STEAM ? averting the tragedy of the internet


One of the issues that has been coming up as the stem to steam discussion
moving forward is how to avert the developing ‘tragedy of the internet’ by
analogy with the ‘tragedy of the commons”

eg see

at the commoning charrette this last summer the group proposed a number of strategies  

one of the concepts is a ‘gated commons’ by analogy to the
agricultural land ,which had shared commons would have “gates”
for instance  which would
let pedestrians into the commons, but not cattle unless accompanied
by a human…


( note the concept of patterning in commons development draws on
the work of chris alexander:  )

our new is using this pattern of commoning
to create a collaboration commons for the art science technology community

here is an area humanities scholars in stem to steam could play an active
role on how we avert the developing tragedy of the internet- steam ahead ?!

roger malina


personal comment- my mother marjorie malina grew up in Elslack Yorkshire England where there is still a gated active commons on the moor


polymathy here we come again for stem to steam ?


As i was visiting colleagues this summer i became aware of a
resurgence of an old
word : polymathy— it has an advantages over the us centric term of
“stem to steam”

eg discussed in: Experiences in Liberal Arts and Science Education
from America, Europe, and Asia
A Dialogue across Continents
Editors:William C. Kirby,  Marijk C. van der Wende
ISBN: 978-1-349-94891-8 (Print) 978-1-349-94892-5

carl gombrich in his pitch frames it in a way somilar to IDEO and
other design professionals
and companies call for “T shaped” individuals

Polymathy, New Generalism, and the Future of Work: A Little Theory and
Some Practice from UCL’s Arts and Sciences Degree
Carl Gombrich

It is a truism that we are at the beginning of a revolution, one that
is driven principally by technology but also involves other factors
such as globalization and problems of planetary scope. Graduate work,
too, is changing. More nations are becoming knowledge economies in
which services dominate and attributes such as creativity,
flexibility, and collegiality are valued in white-collar and
professional jobs at least as much as academic subject knowledge.

This chapter sketches a trajectory of higher education in its relation
to employment and argues that we see a re-emergence of polymathy and
generalism as both valued educational ambitions and central to the
future of work. Examples of University College London Arts and
Sciences student profiles are given and experiences of graduate
recruitment examined.

at our own university of texas we find this approach to polymathy:

UT Austin’s Polymathic Scholars Program:

do you know of other contemporary polymathy approaches ?


roger malina

STEAM to STEM: Open Science, Commoning, and getting help from Charles Babbage


In an earlier  discussion post ( ) I presented a provocation that we need to think of stem to steam in the other direction or STEAM to STEM- and specifically how the arts, design and humanities can work with stem to redesign science itself, both the scientific method and the way science is embedded in society.

At the risk of exciting Frieder Nake again with a meta level discussion ( thanks Frieder !)( i think there are practical things we can work on here)- i thought  i would expand or the societal contextualising of science. I referred for instance to Helga Nowotny, former President of the European Research Council called for development of a ‘socially robust science’, where the public was actively engaged in the doing and decision making of science.

When I was working at the Berkeley Space Science Lab, a colleague of mine was Dan Wertheimer  was part of the group that created the “SETI at HOME” project, which triggered the vibrant and growing citizen science and open science community- which I think is a clear response to Jean Marc Levy Leblond call for the reinvention of the ‘amateur’.( )

Levy-Leblond’s advocacy of a new amateur connects to Bernard Stiegler ( ) who argued for the term French term “amatorat’ rather than ‘amateur” to cover the whole range of new engaged citizen activities from citizen science, to hacker and maker culture, to patient and environmental monitoring groups and in the US the STEM to STEAM movement. In a very real sense the advocacy of a broadened concept of smart, STEM enabled, citizens is one element of a response to Nowotny’s call for socially robust science ( ).

What has triggered this email- on how the arts, design and humanities can contribute to the redesign of scientific culture through the growing “commons” movement ( see for instance what the city of Ghent is doing) below that is designing and implementing a commons infrastructure. I also attended a workshop co directed by David Bollier who is a leading advocate of ‘commoning”  – which rethinks the early internet euphoria about connecting everyone to everyone in a global village ( yes roy ascott, maybe the emerging planetary consciousness is more like a planetary delirium..). The peer to peer, open source, creative commons movements are alive and well but being re-imagined and could be part of a STEAM to STEM to redesign science itself ?

There is nothing new under the sun, by coincidence this summer I read the book by charles babbage entitled  ( ). Titled  Reflections on the Decline of Science in England: And on Some of Its Causes. The book was written in 1830 !!! He discusses the social and technical issues arising in  science and its context at that time ( yes he discusses at length the prevalence of data fraud, unreplicable results and more) but also how the organisation of science at that time needed to be redesigned. At that time of course a large fraction of science was conducted by amateurs…..( and he notes that p 21 “If we look at the fact, we shall find that the great inventions of the age are not, with us at least ( England) , always produced in universities” The co working world, commoning, hacking, making and open science movements would sure agree that this is as true now as it was in 1830. Mark Zuckermerg experienced this when he was student..”The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg faced expulsion and was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights, and violating individual privacy….” ( )…i guess we can discuss whether facebook was a great invention or not but it certainly has changed history of the contemporary world with the other social media which are anything excepted a trusted commons…eat grass on social media and they will monetise your mind…another subject

roger malina

here is the Ghent announcement

From: P2P Foundation
Ghent’s Quick Rise as a Sustainable, Commons-Based Sharing City

Shareable posted: “Maira Sutton: A renewable energy cooperative, a community land trust, and a former church building publicly-controlled and used by nearby residents — these are just a few examples of about 500 urban commons projects that are thriving in the Flemish city o”

New post on P2P Foundation

Ghent’s Quick Rise as a Sustainable, Commons-Based Sharing City

by Shareable

Maira Sutton: A renewable energy cooperative, a community land trust, and a former church building publicly-controlled and used by nearby residents — these are just a few examples of about 500 urban commons projects that are thriving in the Flemish city of Ghent in Belgium. A new research report shows that within the last 10 years, the city has seen a ten-fold increase in local commons initiatives. The report defines commons as any “shared resource, which is co-owned or co-governed by a community of users and stakeholders, under the rules and norms of that community.”

With a population of less than 250,000, Ghent is sizably smaller than the other, more well-known Sharing Cities such as Seoul and Barcelona. But this report shows how it is quickly becoming a hub of some of the most innovative urban commons projects that exist today.

The study was commissioned and financed by Ghent city officials who were keen to understand how they could support more commons-based initiatives in the future. It was conducted over a three-month period in the spring of 2017. The research for the report was led by the P2P Foundation’s Michel Bauwens, in collaboration with Yurek Onzia and Vasilis Niaros, and in partnership with Evi Swinnen and Timelab.

Given how self-governance is central to the success of a commons, the primary methodology employed by the researchers was to meet and talk with the members of various projects. Additionally, they conducted a series of surveys, workshops, and interviews with Ghent residents to explore how these projects came about and what could be done to encourage more commons initiatives to emerge. One result of this process is an online wiki that maps hundreds of successful such projects in the region.

These are a few notable projects mentioned in the report that embody the type of commons work currently underway in Ghent:

REScoop — Renewable energy cooperative

For a moderate sum, a resident can become a member of this green energy cooperative to co-own and co-manage the enterprise. Not only is this model more affordable for lower income residents, members can share the efficiency of solar panels. For example, many members’ roofs may not be optimally located to get enough sunlight at all times of the year. But with collective ownership, people can access and share the available energy, whether or not their own home is collecting as much solar power as other locations.

Buren van de abdij (“Neighbors of the abbey”) — Neighborhood-managed church building

A decade ago, the city gave the keys to a formerly abandoned church to neighboring residents. Since then, the space has been turned it into a thriving center for exhibitions, meetings, and other community events, and it is entirely self-governed by the residents.

CLT Gent — Community land trust

Community land trusts (CLTs) are associations that develop and manage land in order to keep housing or other types of properties affordable and accessible to lower income populations. When the city of Ghent develops housing, it dedicates a percentage of it to CLT Gent to manage and oversee it.

NEST (Newly Established State of Temporality) — Former library building turned into a temporary urban commons lab

The city made plans to renovate an old library. Instead of leaving the building empty for the eight months leading up to its reconstruction, officials decided to turn it into an experimental urban commons project. Now, the space is a thriving community center with meeting and event spaces, a music studio, children’s play area, and more. Each of the services and spaces are operated by different community organizations and enterprises. They also have a contributory rent arrangement, where organizations that are more participatory and sustainable in their practice pay less rent. That means 20 percent of the enterprises pay 60 percent of the rent, thereby subsidizing the commons activities of the other spaces.

NEST opening day. Photo courtesy of Evi Swinnen

The strength of Ghent’s commons can be traced to how the projects encourage participation by individuals and community organizations to steward the shared resource, according to lead researcher Bauwens. There are a few factors that stand out among Ghent’s various commons projects. The first is that the projects’ members invite residents to openly contribute their time, skills, money, or goods, while at the same time not requiring contributions by people to make use of the resource. Secondly, these urban commons projects rely on some aspect of their operation on “generative market forms” that can produce income to sustain them. And finally, they also require support from government agencies or nonprofits to help manage the resource.

Despite the plethora of commons projects that are there, however, the commons-based economy is still relatively small. The report concludes with a series of 23 proposals for actions the city could take to support and strengthen the urban commons in Ghent. Much of the recommendations are aimed at addressing the underlying problem that the researchers identify — that the movement is very fragmented.

The local commons initiatives do not actively collaborate or cooperate with one another. Bauwens noted that he saw members of commons projects within the same domain not know of one other’s commons initiatives. That’s why the report suggests the city set up alliances and other opportunities for cooperation between individual commoners, civil society organizations, the private sector, and agencies within the government itself.

An innovative proposal is what one of the researchers, Swinnen, refers to as a “call for commons.” The idea emerged from the way the NEST Experiment came about. Where major work is required to build a shared space or resource — such as a new library or community space — heavy institutional support is needed to carry forth the project. The idea is that instead of having potential developers individually compete to win the bid for the project to build it — as is the case in most commercial-style development contracts — the project would be rewarded to the strongest coalition of community partners and organizations. And instead of giving it to one developer of one winning proposal, this method enables several organizations to have all their winning ideas realized in tandem. The coalition would have to prove its ability to collaborate, share resources, and maximize community benefit, all the while enabling the most public participation.

Commons as a School for Democracy

Bauwens says that with any commons project, urban or otherwise, there are two major potential benefits of having people share and govern over a common resource. The first is that it can reduce the environmental and material footprint of that community. With any physical commons, people can mutually share and provision its use. Instead of having many people buy or own their own car or tools for example, they can share it, leading to less of those goods having to be produced or transported in the first place.

The second potential of the commons is that they can help build a true democracy, or what Bauwens calls a “school for democracy.” When people have to govern something together, they need to make decisions collectively and work together. The commons is where people can practice and exercise their civic muscles by talking and meeting with other members of their community face-to-face.

Hopefully, we will continue to see the people of Ghent build new urban commons projects as fervently as they have done in the last 10 years. With the additional support of their city government as proposed by this report, Ghent could become one of the leading urban commons capitals of the world.

Header image of NEST in Ghent courtesy of Evi Swinnen

Shareable | August 14, 2017 at 9:03 am | Tags: Vasilis Niaros | Categories: P2P Cultures and Politics | URL:

Comment    See all comments

Unsubscribe to no longer receive posts from P2P Foundation.
Change your email settings at Manage Subscriptions.

Trouble clicking? Copy and paste this URL into your browser:

Ghent’s Quick Rise as a Sustainable, Commons-Based Sharing City



STEAM to STEM at the SEQUOIA DINER: HUEVOS VERDE ? HUEVOS RANCHEROS ? ( for further discussion see the YASMIN discussion )

METAPHOR: ARTSCI is like Huevos Rancheros, one egg is art, another science another technology, and often a fourth is Humanities ( it takes more than one person to eat more than 2 eggs- transdisciplinary collaboration is essential).

Andrew Blanton     Roger mixing the eggs        Andrew Vennari Chef at Sequoia Diner

In a previous blog I introduced the idea of moving from STEM to STEAM to STEAM to STEM, with the point that one of the things that art, design and humanities can contribute is to the redesign of science itself ( both the scientific method and the organisation and culture of science). The scientific method has evolve over the centuries, and with the appearance of cyberscientists and design techniques for redesigning the imagination there are new opportunities. As Annick Bureaud has pointed out in the STEM to STEAM discussion scientific ‘illustration’ is often denigrated as ‘art in the service of science’. Yet as we enter the data culture, we don’t have a clue how to represent data so it makes sense or meaning to human beings. The Renaissance and the invention of perspective transformed many fields and in no way was art ‘in the service of science”. And during the 19th century artists changed science through the art of illustration ( deciding what to draw is not innocent).( see the work of Linda Candy and Ernest Edmonds).

This week at the Leonardo 50th Birthday party at Sheila Pinkel’s in Pasadena California I had the chance to talk to Margaret Wertheim who told me she was working on a book on ‘Dimensions’. She wondered aloud why we couldn’t start thinking in multiple dimenstions but were trapped in the three dimensional world that is an artefact of our cognition. Why are virtual worlds three dimensional in general ? Dont game designers have any imagination ? Why is time usually the fourth dimension. As Linda Henderson in her work on the 4th dimension in art and science pointed out that last century when physicists were challenging our belief in a rigid three-dimensional space ( yes space is curved but our brain doesn’t see it that way) artists played a key role helping imagine and represent other ideas of multi dimensional spaces. Margaret point out that in big data we are almost never in three dimensional spaces. Scientists like to call it data visualisation but the last thing we should do is  visualisate large data spaces the way our brain has constructed the artificial three dimensional world ( for us to navigate for our survival- nothing to to with accurate representation).

So here is another area where STEAM to STEM can make a difference creating systems of representation for multi dimensional spaces and imagination.

I am working with  UT Dallas Art and Technology ArtSciLab Phd Student Tina Qin working on applying metaphor theory to data visualisation ( Jack Ox did a great PhD on this topic too). Tina works the real estate company Century One and boy do they have a big data visualisation problem).
Coming back to the Huevos Rancheros metaphor ( actually at the great Sequoia Diner it was Huevas Verde )..

Andrew Blanton and I were having brunch at the Sequoia Diner in Oakland California and we had great huevos rancheros ! The ideas in this blog came from our discussions.

To make Huevos Rancheros you need at least two eggs – but there is no way to eat it without mixing the eggs up, and mixing in beans ( technology ?) or avocados ( ethics ?). When there are more than two eggs you need more than two people to eat it ( or else watch your diet). In IDEO terminology you need T shaped individuals ( who know how to hug to collaborate eating).
Eggs, art science or technology are essential ingredients we dont here propose to re invent the chicken. But the ingredients are only useful once broken and mixed in the eating.
And you almost always need a chef. At the Sequoia Diner the Chef was Andrew Vennari ( see their web site at ). If you study the literature in the science of team science ( ) one learns that as the team of eaters grows, new functions emerge. With a two egg huevos rancheros you can easily cook and eat it yourself ( my father was such a hybrid). But as the number of eaters, and eggs, grows the new function of chef appears. The chef cant eat for you, but without a chef there is no gastronomic thrill of discovery)
And sometimes the chef when you order huevos verde can make something unexpected. See below ( )

Andrew Blanton and I highly recommend the Sequoia Diner !
Roger Malina

STEAM to STEM: Redesigning Science Education as we redesign Science itself ?


continuing our yasmin discussion (  Yasmin URL:
If you prefer to read the yasmin posts on a blog go to  )

on STEAM to STEM: Redesigning science education as we redesign Science itself

To: Julia( Buntaine)
From: Roger Malina

what a fantastic issue of SciArt Magazine* on steam education- look forward to reading it

your post adds a different dimension to the provocation that we need
to use stem to steam to redesign science itself

you say

“A common sentiment in this issue is the need to
redesign science classes (at least in younger education, if not through
college) so teachers can capture the imagination and creativity that we’re
all inherently born with for STEM classes, qualities that can easily fade
if not exercised.”

perhaps on yasmin we have other curriculum developers who have
been creating steam curricula- or modifying science and engineering
pedagogy to include steam

kathryn evans is about to relaunch our CDASH aggregator of
art/science/humanities curricula ( announcement next  month)


my provocation in terms of your statement that we should redesign
science classes to capture the imagination and creativity…..

i would make a bolder statement that we need to redesign the scientific
method and that this will drive different teaching strategies

i have just finished reading

Pragmatic Imagination by Ann Pendleton-Jullian  (Author), John Seely Brown  (Author)

in this series of connected booklets- ann pendleton-jullian ( an architect) and
john seeley brown of xerox parc fame- actually develop methodologies for
training the imagination which if implemented i think could alter the way
scientists research-it argues for a continuing spectrum of mental activities
from reasoning to a variety of different modes of imagination- they separate
imagination methods from creativity

so yes- we need to teach differently using science of leaning methods
and new information from cognitive science, and yes using steam- but
maybe more deeply as we redesign the scientific method and science-
then the content of science will change not just the teaching methods
to include steam


how does one teach the sycberscientific method where AI is now making

discoveries and models that humans werent involved in ? what are the

differences between the human scientific method and the AI scientific

method ? how do you teach a young person what discoveries their

cell phone can make about them ?

roger malina

From: Julia Buntaine <>
Date: Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 8:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] steam: redesigning science…aesthetic computing

Hey everyone,

To jump in here quickly as it may be of interest, *SciArt Magazine* just
published (today, Aug 1st) a special topics August issue on STEAM education
with contributions from over 30 educators, and about 20 institutions – many
in the U.S. and a number abroad:

Our aim with this special topics issue was to gather (at least a set of)
current STEAM approaches and thoughts, from varying levels of education, to
see the commonalities and share ideas as educators in uncharted pedagogical
territory, as well as serve as a distinct point in time where we can pause,
think, and from here actively try to evolve (as this thread discusses) to
the next level/iteration/step of STEAM, whatever that may be or however
that may take shape. A common sentiment in this issue is the need to
redesign science classes (at least in younger education, if not through
college) so teachers can capture the imagination and creativity that we’re
all inherently born with for STEM classes, qualities that can easily fade
if not exercised.

It was this thread, back in December, which both informed the design my own
STEAM course and gave me inspiration to put this issue together, so thank
you – all of you!

At any rate, happy to hear your thoughts, and I’m sure the contributors of
the issue would be happy to be contacted as well if you find a point of
synergy or contention. We’ll likely do another one of these special topics
STEAM issues next summer, FYI, and will be looking for contributors.

*Julia Buntaine*
*Neuroscience-based art:

*Adjunct, Innovator-in-Residence at Rutgers UniversityDirector at SciArt
Center <>*
*Editor-in-Chief of SciArt Magazine <>*

> Yasmin_discussions mailing list
> Yasmin URL:
>  .
> If you prefer to read the yasmin posts on a blog go to



This is to continue feeding into the YASMIN discussion on whether we need to redesign science itself as part of our STEM to STEAM ideas.

here is my original post:

Where I begin to argue that we have been backing into the future with STEM to STEAM and the emphasis on how to integrate art/design/humanities “into” science engineering and medecine. I want to argue that we are entering a second scientific revolution where science itself is being redesigned fundamentally, and that the ways of knowing captured by the arts, design and humanities have a key design role to play. I argued that Paul Fishwick’s “aesthetic computing’ was one generative approach and Paul had posted a follow up to the discussion.

Here are some other thoughts:

a) Architect and designer Anne Pendleton-Julian with John Seeley Brown argue that we can redesign the human imagination. We normally take curiosity as innate. Blue sky curiosity driven research is embedded in the nature of human curiosity ( see Sundar Sarukkai on the Ethics of Curiosity.

Pragmatic Imagination Paperback by Ann Pendleton-Jullian  (Author), John Seely Brown 

b) In a special section of the July 7 Issue of Science Magazine, researchers argue that AI is getting to the point where it can conduct research ( ).  John Bohannan calls this ‘ the cyberscientist’ and states boldly : “for interpreting data, generating hypotheses and planning experiments, the ultimate goal is to get rid of human intuition”. Whoa. The article ends with a discussion on including AI systems as co authors, because many of the ideas and conclusions were generated by the cyberscientist not by the human, but in collaboration.

So we need artists, designers and humanities researchers, expert in AI, to be part of redesigning science in this area. One example is Fox Harrell, a true hybrid ( BFA arts, Master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University, Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science ) has outlined an ambitious agenda in his Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression (MIT Press, 2013).  Harrell discusses, “among other topics, the phantasm as an orienting perspective for developers; expressive epistemologies, or data structures based on subjective human worldviews; morphic semiotics (building on the computer scientist Joseph Goguen’s theory of algebraic semiotics”.


I have argued elsewhere that we assume that the universe is ‘understandable’ using methologies developed using the human brain. What if it isnt ( yeah everything  that matters is dark to the human senses)

c) Finally here is a third line of thought. Many of us thought that neuroaesthetics had come to a dead end ( in spite of the work of Zeki and Changeux and colleagues). But there is a remarkable resurgence in ideas :

There is an emerging community of practice which has begun meeting at Brain on Art( I prefer Art on the Brain version !) conferences. The next one is in Valencia Spain this fall.

If you cant attend, join:  where this community of practice is sharing ideas.

“brings together thought leaders, practitioners and innovators working at the intersection of the arts, sciences, engineering, technology, medicine, and education and developing trans-disciplinary approaches to the study of brain dynamics in action and context, innovation, creativity, aesthetic experiences, emergence of intent and emotional intelligence, emotional buildings and sensing spaces, art therapy, STEAM education, as well as the latest wearable high-definition brain-body technologies.”

We know ( eg see Eric Kandel) about the moment in the history of ideas in 19th century Vienna there was cross fertilisation between leading artists and medical researchers ( including Freud). It changed the history of science.

With Bronac Ferran we have been talking about ‘cognitive extraction’, or the way data mining is now capturing not only human activity but also human thought and phantasies- The art on the brain community is digging deep into this area. And the cyberscientists are beginning to attend.

Roger Malina










On the YASMIN discussion list, ( )  I just launched a provocation that in the STEM to STEAM discussion the burden of evidence or normally put on the arts/design/humanities, They are asked to  justify the worth of new approaches of art/sci/tech. ie integrate art/design ‘into’science and engineering. But what if a key need and opportunity is to redesign science itself as part of this process ?.

In 2008 as the impact of the data age was becoming apparent, Chris Anderson proclaimed that

THE END OF THEORY: THE DATA DELUGE MAKES THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD OBSOLETE (  ) That was ten years ago- and I don’t think he is proving totally wrong ( deep learning and the new AI are charging with pattern recognition ++ not many provable equations ?)

So here is my new entry point into Chris Anderson’s ‘shout”.

Pier Luigi Capucci gathered us in Bologna for a Leonardo 50 birthday party and one of the topics was:
“The Countries in the Mediterranean Rim, and more in general all European countries, have a long history and heritage in art and culture, that can be valued through new disciplines, sciences and technologies. “The New and History”, which is the general art*science title, suggests a relationship between two concepts seemingly in opposition, that instead can and must coexist. The “new”, “innovation,” has its foundation in history but it can and must revive its heritage in the future, through arts, scientific disciplines and technologies. This is a key element, from cultural, historical, social and economic viewpoints.”
Pier Luigi Capucci

So here is the posit:

One of the major cultural heritages of the mediterranean is western science and its scientific method itself – with the lineage to so many schools of thought in Mesopotamia, the arab world, southern europe and the southern bank of the Mediterranean and then of course the various ‘amber roads’ between the mediterranean and northern europe. ( and yes Indian and Chinese science followed parallel routes)

So maybe one answer to pier luigi is that the mediterranean region needs to take a lead in re-inventing science itself as part of stem to steam thinking, maybe because of its heritage it is well placed to anser pier-luigi’s challenge ?: . “The “new”, “innovation,” has its foundation in history but it can and must revive its heritage in the future, through arts, scientific disciplines and technologies.”PLC

Maybe we can rebuild  Amber roads to reinvent and redesign science ? Deep in this is also the idea of how Diasporas have been crucial elements of cultural invention, and in particular in science ( beyond the Mediterranean Diasporas, think of the indian and chinese student Diasporas in european and north american universities today that will inevitably alter the nature of science in the 21st century) ( how will the injection of indian and chinese – see science and scientific heritage into world science and scientific method lead to deep changes  in the scientific method itself ?) (probably worth re reading Leonardo founding member Joseph Needham’s work)

PS the amber road reference is because the topic was introduced by Jadwiga Charzynska from Poland as a new YASMIN moderator  see: (  ) between Gdansk and the Mediterranean !


This is a recent idea that I have been  mulling as I have been going around the leo50 events in Manizales, Rio, Bologna so far- and finding the scientific community itself much more receptive to the art science discussion than 10 years ago. The stem to steam discussion often focuses the discussion of evidence that integrated things are worthy with the burden on art/design/humanities to prove themselves
– but there is a line of argument that science itself  needs to be redesigned  and this is one way that stem to steam could  be generative

– eg the scientific method itself has changed dramatically scientific revolution/enlightenment set in motion what we currently call the scientific method in the ‘west” (thank you bacon, newton, Leibnitz, Darwin, einstein…yeah all men…)

eg- our ideas of causality are very different than in the time of Bacon or Newton or Faraday the idea of an equation often embodies ideas of cause and effect that are ‘reducible’ ie take vitamin c and you will
be healthier or shoot an arrow and it hits an apple ideas of causality have shifted with thermodynamics statistical ideas of causality took hold, with quantum mechanics fundamental uncertainties ( never mind discussions on retrocausality see jack sarfatti’s work), with complexity theory the idea of simple causality vanish ( you can’t write an equation for climate change, mental health is a complex interaction of biology and environment and experience)

Paul Thomas who is organising a STEM to STEAM panel in Plymouth during the Balance Un Balance conference next month argues:

” Distinguishing the difference between internationally recognized methods of empirical science (experimentation and verification in technical procedures or laboratory scenarios) and the modes of diagnosis, experimentation, play, trial, failure, inspiration and invention in the creative practices characteristic of the artist’s studio;” Paul Thomas

This highlights a 19th century idea of the scientific method- what is a 21 century one? how do you observe things that we have no sensory access to, verify causal chains that are not reducible to a one variable controlled experiment ( cf the turmoil in science on lack of reproducibility of many scientific results) ( I know I am mixing epistemological and social issues)

– the other area is of course the scientific method has not been revised to take into account the data age as chris anderson argued 20 years later ( dan boorstin called this an epistemological revolution
and he was right)- data is no longer rare as it was in the time of Einstein and what did astronomers discover with all the data ? that 90 % of the universe is unobservable with light ! we have the wrong data- hence the new generations of dark matter and dark energy experiments ( probably due to how astronomy has been badly biased because of its fixation on light due to human sensorium not on basic principles !)

finally to follow on the comment on the emergence of the ‘dark in astronomy, the scientific method is embedded in ideas of cognitive science that have now been overtaken- the universe doesnt necessary work the way the human mind is built to understand-how do we understand the way the functioning of the human mind biases the scientific method and creates blind spots ? how do we redesign the scientific method as a result of the new cognitive science ?

and then of course the socio/technological context of science is dramatically different from when the scientific method was invented ( does gender bias in science reflect one of the cognitive biases the
human mind has imposed on  science ?), ( ok Latour its more complicated than that),  the relationship of science to society ( a la socially robust science of Helga Nowotny)- why didnt
the scientific method anticipate climate change but instead contributed to it ? (ok ok) its touchy territory- because there are embedded values in the scientific method that are rarely discussed ( eg
Sarukkai and the Ethics of Curiosity). Is the scientific method itself obsolete and needs re inventing ?

Is that a possible outcome of the STEM to STEAM movement and the new amber roads we need to build across all our cultures  ?


Roger Malina

Club Equinox, Oak Lawn, Dallas

If you want to join the YASMIN discussion go to: 

You can read the blogs without contributing by reading:






See you in Durban: Towards an Inventory of Good Practices for Transdisciplinary Collaboration


In Manizales, Mauricio Meija, Andres Roldan and I chaired a panel and workshop on training methods for transdisciplinary collaboration. I attach the current draft for comment. During the panel I was accused of being a ‘positivist’ for implying that there might be a ‘best’ practice – this was a mistake as clearly there are a variety of good practices that are being developed, yet to be tested which are more productive ! As I have been saying inter/trans disciplinarity is not ‘a discipline’ but a variety of approaches that need to be tailored the work being done.

In any case, we decided that the project was interesting enough to continue for the coming year and meet again at ISEA 2018 in Durban South Africa. Our next steps are:


a) we have set up a google group where you can join by sharing your own documentation on good practices for transdisciplinary collaboration. Send me an email at with an indication of your areas of expertise. We have about 20 people right now.

b) we will publish/share on the google group both the annotated bibliography that the group is compiling of good practices they have employed, and also a critical review of these. If you would like to contribute to the inventory of good practices- contact me to join the google group.

c) We will organise a new panel and workshop in Durban to try and consolidate the discussions and make available the results.
See you in Durban !
Here is the current version of the papaer


Towards an Inventory of Best Practices
for Transdisciplinary Collaboration

  1. Mauricio Mejíaa, Roger Malinab, Andrés F. Roldánc

a Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia.

b University of Texas, Dallas, USA.

c Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia.





Transdisciplinary, as opposed to inter or multidisciplinary, practices are increasing in many areas in industry, government, academia and civil society. The benefits of such collaboration have been proven in traditional practice areas such as health, engineering, or business. However, in wide collaborations, such as the emerging “STEM to STEAM” movement, collaboration bridges diverse fields such as art and design, humanities, science, technology, and medicine. Institutional contexts bridge those of self-employed practitioners, to profit and nonprofit sectors both in civil society and government; training practices are less clear and specific difficulties can be anticipated. In this paper, we review some best practices and didactics for teamwork collecting relevant sources from different fields. Our conclusion is that it is possible, and necessary, to train individuals and teams for transdisciplinary collaboration. Depending on the field of application some approaches are shared, but also different approaches will be required. The authors recommend new research and development adapted to particular transdisciplinary fields such as STEM to STEAM.


Best practices, transdisciplinary collaboration, art and science


According to Buchanan (2001), for three centuries since Renaissance, academic disciplines focused on incremental theory development and specialization. In the last century, researchers and practitioners from different fields have reached a level of expertise limited to silos with difficulties to collaborate in inter and multidisciplinary challenges. The rise of complex sociotechnical systems has stimulated multiple initiatives to promote inter, multi and now transdisciplinary collaboration even in traditionally opposed areas such as art and science. The ability of individuals and institutions to integrate diverse knowledge and cultures of practice is asserted as a necessary asset, and value.  We insist however that ‘integration’ does not imply “unification”.

There is an extensive literature that addresses the differences between multi, inter and transdisciplinary practices; see for instance the work of Allen Repko and Rick Szostak (2017) or Julie Klein (1991). The focus on transdisciplinary projects, particularly in the context of problem solving in societal and community projects, is a more recent development. In 1998, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Division of Philosophy and Ethics published Transdisciplinarity: Stimulating Synergies, Integrating Knowledge. The report includes a useful bibliography which this project seeks to update.

Transdisciplinary collaboration has benefits in allowing the multiplicity of perspectives for the approach of problems. In its practice knowledge management among different fields is motivated by the promise of collective potential. Also, participation of different professions facilitates the recognition of other knowledge and the strengthening of networks of collaborative work as well as the transfer and translation between communities. In this exploratory collection of best practices the authors reviewed selected literature from health, business, research, and design. Although there are extensive recommendations for collaboration, we selected some of the most relevant for non-traditional or novel transdisciplinary collaborations. For example, we are particularly interested in collaborations between artists and scientists or humanities and engineering professionals.

There is a large and growing literature on collaboration methodologies. These include from those used, for instance, in business strategic alliances, where the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals ( allows the sharing of best practices and training. In the field of space activities, NASA for over 60 years has developed detailed methodologies. NASA’s Academy of Program and Project Leadership provides ongoing improvements in management techniques for their sector. Their ‘Collaboration on Collaboration’ ( has also inventoried specific collaboration best practices. Initiated in translational medicine, the Science of Team Science initiative has developed specific toolkits to improve collaboration ( (Stokol et al. 2006). In the military there is a very large collaboration training literature; for instance the 2017 annual ITEC conference focuses on innovation through collaboration ( ). In the field of design, there are several tools and methods that can support stakeholders collaboration in design projects. A major firm, IDEO, through its non-profit, published a website called Design Kit ( to disseminate methods of design thinking, which is both a designerly and transdisciplinary approach. Similarly, scholars at Politecnico di Milano have developed a repository of design methods (

In the transdisciplinary fields that bridge the arts and humanities to science and engineering there is only relatively recent literature and little consolidated best practices. In 2012 Joost Heinsius and Kai Lehikoinen aggregated a number of texts for “Training Artists for Innovation: Competencies for new contexts” ( They issued a number of policy recommendations primarily focused on including artists as integral to innovation funding programs, and highlighting the specific issues of self-employed artists collaborating with professionals in institutional contexts. When such projects bridge addressing societal issues, particular challenges are encountered. Specific initiatives include those led by anthropologist James Leach through the Cross Cultural Parternship ( have developed, and tested, specific cross disciplinary collaboration templates ( The work, grounded in cross-cultural research across asian and european cultures provides new insights and strategies.

Particular problems arise from very different cultures and history of collaboration; within some of the arts and humanities, individual practice and creative authorship dominate, and collaborative practices are relatively recent. The variety of approaches of how intellectual property are addressed is complicated by the more recent moves towards open science and software movements. The 2001 Collaborative Ownership and the Digital Economy Conference ( led to the 2005 book by Rishab Ghosh with the same name (Ghosh, Ed. 2005). One of the authors of this paper (RFM), is involved in the SEAD network that published in 2015 a report,  funded by the US National Science Foundation, entitled “Steps to an Ecology of Networked Knowledge and Innovation: Enabling New Forms of Collaboration among Sciences, Engineering, Arts, and Design” ( This report called for particular attention to improving transdisciplinary collaboration processes both between individuals and between institutions. The different disciplinary and institutional cultures pose particularly hard problems that require attention. The recent international ‘STEM to STEAM’ movement seeks to develop initiatives that integrate the arts/design/humanities with science/technology/medicine. In the education area, the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine have currently under way a study to address the challenges and proposed approaches (, In Europe the EU STARTS initiative ( ) asserts that  “the arts are gaining prominence as catalysts for an efficient conversion of science and technology knowledge into novel products, services, and processes” and funding mechanisms are in place.

Towards an Inventory of best practices

The panel and workshop held at ISEA2017 in Manizales are one step to continue to focus attention on these problems. Here we develop some initial areas for discussion and development.

Identify values and set up the environment for teamwork

In projects where practitioners share an overall disciplinary culture (e.g. military, health care) in general values and success criteria are fairly easy to develop. However, in transdisciplinary projects that cross different ‘ways of knowing’, conflicts can arise when the individual values are not made explicit or overt. For instance, the ‘truth’ status of results derived from the scientific and engineering fields may not be viewed in the same way by practitioners in the arts or humanities which emphasize individual reception within a specific cultural context. The US National Science Foundation funded Toolbox toolkit provides one approach for making implicit values explicit ( and in particular seeks to make clear individual participants views on the practice and values of others. They state “The Initiative provides a philosophical yet practical enhancement to cross-disciplinary, collaborative science. This enhancement comes primarily in the form of a dialogue-based “Toolbox workshop”, and it is intended for interdisciplinary and inter-professional teams of collaborators. Rooted in philosophical analysis, Toolbox workshops enable cross-disciplinary collaborators to engage in a structured dialogue about their research assumptions. This yields both self-awareness and mutual understanding, supplying cross-disciplinary research collaborators with the robust foundation needed for effective collaborative research and practice”.

Setting personal and group goals for interdisciplinary collaborative work facilitates the recognition of the capabilities of team members and confronts participants to identify the importance of their input and the type of participation they wish to have. Likewise, it outlines the participation of the collaborators according to levels of expertise, preference for some subject or interest in strengthening certain capacities to the extent that they commit to work in a specific area.

The investment of time and effort at the initiation of transdisciplinary collaborations is significant, more significant than in inter or multidisciplinary ones. There is often resistance by individuals to develop clear understandings of differences in values and specific goals. Early discussions on intellectual property approaches can be disruptive, but must be addressed. Often in transdisciplinary collaborations there are intentionally multiple forms of outputs (e.g. discoveries for scientists, technical solutions for engineers, impactful artworks for artists, etc.) and often there are not shared criteria for success.

In health fields, there is wide study of collaboration among diverse care providers. Salas and Rosen (2013) reported the evidence about training for collaboration in this area and one of the best practice they suggested is that leadership support is the key driver of effective teamwork because organizational culture and priorities affect how staff collaborate. In less hierarchical institutions different from health, a commitment technique should be defined.

At the beginning of a transdisciplinary collaboration, it is important to be convinced, through analysis, that only transdisciplinary rather than inter or multidisciplinary ones.

Train individuals to learn collaboration skills.

There is an extensive research in health fields to train care providers from different specialties to work together in common goals. Salas and Rosen (2013) synthesized the progress in this research area and explained that learning teamwork may be easy and engaging; however, practice and guided practice are the best didactics to apply knowledge in actual collaborations. They also pointed out that feedback (causes of effective or ineffective performance) help team members to improve their collaboration. In areas beyond health, collaborations may not occur with previous training programs protocols or requirements. Therefore, guided practice and feedback may need that one of the individuals is skilled and assumes the role of guide and provides feedback.

A promising training technique for collaboration applied mainly in health and aviations is the use of high fidelity simulations. But Beaubien and Baker (2004) criticized its efficacy has been because of the lack of evidence. They recommend a careful planning of the training to tailor specific needs, goals, and evaluation. In transdisciplinary collaborations, this technique would be particularly helpful when there are clear goals with determined outcomes. In more creative tasks with undetermined outcomes, simulation training may limit creativity in post-training performance.

Assign roles to each individual in the group.

Sunstein and Hastie (2014) contended that behavioral economics can explain the pitfalls of group performance because cognitive biases influence behavior of individuals in the groups. For example, people underestimate the time needed in a project (planning fallacy) or stick with endeavors that are unlikely to succeed (sunk-cost fallacy). These authors suggest that assigning roles gives member the confidence and responsibility to share information that otherwise would be hidden by the avoidance of social rejection. The advantage of transdisciplinary collaboration is that the collaborators know that others have different skillsets and worldviews. However, to enhance collaboration, roles should be clarified or constantly revised in the process. Sunstein and Hastie also suggested two similar strategies regarding role assignment. First, they recommend appointing a devil’s advocate, which frees an individual from the social pressure of accepting a dominant group position. Second, they recommend establishing contrarian teams, which is a variation in which part of the group has the mission of identifying weaknesses of the decisions or outcomes.

Leading the team from disciplinary diversity and integration.

Leadership in transdisciplinary collaboration is a task that can be performed by a participant, but it may also be desired by multiple individuals in various leadership roles. Gray (2008) suggests three approaches to types of cross-disciplinary leadership: (a) cognitive Leadership to motivate participants to move beyond their disciplinary knowledges, to break schemas of thinking, and to propose expanding their limits of knowledge; (b) structural leadership that adds value to the extent that it facilitates the creation of relational bridges between participants less interaction, and (c) procedural leadership that gives participants confidence and converts conflicts into constructive interactions. Gray recommended that leadership should be a shared process in dispersed work networks, which allows the search of the objectives of the work team to leverage from different actors.

Influence collaborators to exploit their full potential

Another application of behavioral insights to improve teamwork is setting up rules that allow the group to overcome biases and fallacies. Sunstein and Hastie (2014) recommend three actions. First, they recommended to silence the leader, which would avoid discouraging the members to oppose authority. They made the case of underserved populations, but in transdisciplinary collaborations some disciplines could be dominant and could be “silenced” to encourage contributions of members of less dominant or non-traditional disciplines depending on the problem being tackled. Second, Sunstein and Hastie recommended priming critical thinking, which consists of specifically asking people to disclose all possible information and ideas. We believe that this action would individuals from uncommon disciplines would feel confidence to contribute. These authors also recommended rewarding group success – not individual success. This will encourage individuals to share knowledge that can potentially benefit the group performance.

Alternate group and individual work to enhance ideation. 

Perhaps the most widespread technique in the general public to generate ideas in groups is brainstorming. However, as Paulus and colleagues (2015) note, this technique has proven to reduce efficiency and efficacy of idea generation. They report exploratory studies that point out to alternation of group and individual work to better ideation processes. This technique is known as brainwriting because whereas individuals work alone, they register their ideas before sharing them in a group.

Use the tools and techniques according to possibilities of collaboration.

The proper use of collaboration tools and techniques influence the effectiveness of teamwork and facilitate distributed asynchronous collaboration (i.e. at different times and places). Sanders and colleagues (2010), in some case studies about collaboration in design fields, noted that some tools for collaboration should be used according to the possibilities offered by the meeting, purpose of collaboration, composition and size of the group, and type of meet (face-to-face or virtual context). Likewise, Koutsabasis and colleagues (2012) identified the potential of human-based interaction technology tools by tracking multidisciplinary collaborative projects in a virtual world-type immersion environment. Their contributions highlight registration as a support for collaborative practices, the collaboration scenario and level of commitment and concentration that digital tools facilitate for distance collaboration. There is a proliferation of software tools to enable and support collaboration in general. It is unlikely that unified generally accepted tools will be developed. As emphasized by Leach ( 0 ), it is important at the initiation of transdisciplinary collaborations to make visible the use of different tools and identifying necessary integrating ones.

Structure decision making based on collective cognition and evidence 

Decision making is one of the major challenges in teamwork. All the previous best practices can support this activity. The Delphi method is widely known methods for rational decision making incorporating both individual and group wisdom. This collective and social cognitive process is powerful to counter cognitive biases of individuals. (Sunstein & Hastie, 2014). The use of evidence for decisions also helps collaborators to focus on the benefits of the project. In codesign, evidence has shown to reduce controversy and facilitate consensus (De La Cruz & Mejía, 2017).

Heterogeneity and its discontents

A number of studies of collaborations address both the positive and negative and challenging aspects of group heterogeneity. Heterogeneity in this context includes aspects the mix of gender, age, abilities, ethnicity and culture, location (Cummings et al 2013). In general for small groups (< 30) studies often indicate that more heterogeneous groups are more innovative; however, as noted by Cummings et al, as group size, locations, institutional contexts increase heterogeneity can be counter productive. As emphasised by the Science of Team Science toolkits referred above, it is important to understand ahead of time the impact of heterogeneity/or lack of it, both on collaboration productivity but also on the needed training techniques.


This paper is developed in the context of the panel and workshop convened at ISEA2017, organized by the authors of this paper. The panel titled “Training Methods for Transdisciplinary Collaboration: Best Practices and Didactics for Teamwork,” a number of practitioners were invited to present their own methods and a report will be issued. This project in itself is a transdisciplinary collaboration. We will identify the lessons learned.

Collaborative work appears as a need for successful transdisciplinary efforts and communal professional activity among individuals with different expertise; collaboration is asserted as a value in itself because of its social consequences. Collaboration frames activities in a scenario of mutual benefits, where each participant contributes with her work to personal and group goals. Collaboration is expected to augment individuality because participants’ peculiarities, strengths, knowledge, and skills may articulate and negotiate to achieve an integrated outcome, which could be more successful and constructive.

However, individuals have limited abilities to exploit the personal and collective benefits of collaboration. Formal or informal training methods need to be refined and tested to enhance transdisciplinary work. We are looking for multiple perspectives of training methods, because transdisciplinary work is not a homogenous culture of practice. We are also interested in inspiration from metaphors from the natural environment. A key issue in transdisciplinary is understanding, and making explicit, the metaphors and terminology used in each discipline; we seek to clarify and make visible the metaphors and language shared in transdisciplinary practice. In nature, some animals and plants master interspecies communal living in some biological relationships and collaborative work. In mutualism, for instance, individuals from different species live together and benefit from a relationship based on strategic alliances. There could be much to learn from the mutualism as a metaphor in human transdisciplinary collaboration, including training methods, while recognizing the limits of translating from one field of application to another.

As emphasized by a number of authors there is a need to test training methods to develop evidence of effective approaches, while recognizing the singularity of individual projects and the heterogeneity of specific project groups. Some projects are more focused on innovation as such, others on societal or cultural change. Anne Balsamo in her book Designing Culture: The technological imagination at work (Balsamo 2011) emphasizes that individual innovation and transdisciplinary projects are embedded in a larger project of changing culture towards a sustainable society that promotes human well being and sustainable societies; often projects are ‘sub-optimal’ in that the solution of a specific problem may cause unanticipated problems at the societal or cultural level. Such consequences can be studied using future casting or science fiction prototyping methods (e.g. Johnson, 2011), though the success of these techniques has not been convincingly been demonstrated.

For this project we re-emphasize that in “integrating framework’ does not mean “unifying” frameworks; there is a literature on the problem of integration vs unifying approaches such as the work of Edward Slingerland and colleagues (Slingerland e; and Collard, M. 2011). A basic assertion is that transdisciplinary approaches bridge different ways of knowing and doing, and there is specific value of multiple approaches. Depending on the field of application, or problem context,  some approaches are shared, but also different approaches will be required but that the results could not have been achieved with other means.

This paper is presented as a working paper for the ISEA 2017 Panel and Workshop ( ) with the intent of producing a synthesis report as an outcome.


Balsamo, A. (2011) Designing Culture; the technological imagination at work.  Duke University Press.

Beaubien, J., & Baker, D. (2004). The use of simulation for training teamwork skills in health care: how low can you go? Quality & Safety in Health Care,13(Suppl 1), i51–i56.

Buchanan, R. (2001). Design research and the new learning. Design Issues, 17, 3–23.

Cummings JN1, Kiesler S, Bosagh Zadeh R, Balakrishnan AD.

De la Cruz, L. A. & Mejía, G. M. (2017). Reflective didactic strategy to integrate semiotic theory and creative practice in graphic design education. Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education 16 (1), pp. 83-97.

Psychol Sci. Group heterogeneity increases the risks of large group size: a longitudinal study of productivity in research groups. 2013 Jun;24(6):880-90. doi: 10.1177/0956797612463082. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

Ghosh, R. , ed. 2005. Code: Collaborative ownership and the digital economy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gray, B. (2008). Enhancing transdisciplinary research through collaborative leadership. American journal of preventive medicine 35 (2), pp. S124-S132.

Johnson, B. ()2011)  Science Fiction Prototyping: Designing the Future with Science Fiction. Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2011

Klein J. Crossing boundaries: knowledge, disciplinarities, and interdisciplinarities. Charlottesville VA: University of Virginia Press, 1996

Koutsabasis, P., Vosinakis, P., Malisova, K., Paparounas, N. (2012). On the value of virtual worlds for collaborative design. Design Studies 33 (4), pp. 357-390.

Paulus, P. B., Korde, R. M., Dickson, J. J., Carmeli, A., & Cohen-Meitar, R. (2015). Asynchronous Brainstorming in an Industrial Setting: Exploratory Studies. Human Factors, 57(6), 1076–1094.

Repko, A., Shostak, R,  Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory. Sage Publishers, 2017.

Salas, E., & Rosen, M. A. (2013). Building high reliability teams: progress and some reflections on teamwork training. BMJ Quality & Safety, 22(5), 369–373.

Sanders, E., Brandt, E., & Binder, T. (2010). A framework for organizing the tools and techniques of participatory design. Proceedings of the 11th biennial participatory design conference. ACM.

Slingerland, E, and Collard, M. Creating Consilience: Integrating the Sciences and the Humanities. Oxford University Press. 2011

Daniel Stokols, PhD, Kara L. Hall, PhD, Brandie K. Taylor, MA, Richard P. Moser, PhD

The Science of Team Science Overview of the Field and Introduction to the Supplement  American Journal of Preventive Medicine Volume 35, Issue 2, Supplement, Elsevier August 2008, Pages S77–S89. Elsevier.

Sunstein, C. R., & Hastie, R. (2014, December 1). Making Dumb Groups Smarter. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (1998). Transdisciplinarity: Stimulating Synergies, Integrating Knowledge. Retrieved from UNESCO website:

Authors Biographies

  1. Mauricio Mejía is an associate professor at the Department of Design, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, at the University of Caldas, Colombia. He is currently the program director of the PhD in Design and Creation. He received his PhD in Design from the University of Minnesota. His research work focuses on interaction design, behavior change, codesign, and strategic design.


Roger Malina is …


Andrés Roldán is…


Synesthesia for breakfast in Manizales Colombia Leonardo 5oth birthday at ISEA



This morning we had breakfast in Manizales Colombia where we have come for the first of a series of Leonardo 50th anniversary birthday parties that have gone viral (this one hosted by ISEA,  next one in Rio at PUC RIO, then Bologna then…!!!) Manizales is in an area of incredible biodiversity that was mapped by Francisco Jose de Caldas (  ) in the 18th century. Felipe Londono, Rector of the University of Caldas that is hosting ISEA, has launched the Caldas expedition of the 21st century that will remap Colombia using the combination of the best local knowledge and big data. ( )  .

At the bottom of this blog post is a photograph that i took at breakfast from the place we are staying with a group of Leonardo and family friends. My senses were awake. Manizales is in a complex topological landscape of hills and rivers, The city in mixed with green areas that are remarkably biodiverse. Walking in Manizales features all our tactile senses, hightening our awareness of our contact with the ground and the variety of textures. The air is rich in smells from all the different flora and fauna ( yes i stepped on a dead frog and my nose was ecstatic).And yes bread is bread but so different in taste. And this morning in the city i was awoken by the sound of cars, yes, but birds, and grunts of animals.


I wish I was a synesthete ! But as I remember my breakfast, my memory is multisensory and intense with all senses almost equivalent rather than dominated by the visual as it is in my work in european and north american cities where I have lived.


Coincidentally colleague Carol Steen sent me this announcement for the upcoming synesthesia conference :

Dear Roger,

I thought you might like to know that the American Synesthesia
Association, Inc.’s 12th Conference will be held at Harvard on October
6 – 8, 2017.  We just posted the Call for Papers on the ASA’s website.
Abstract submission deadline is July 7, 2017.

Warm regards,
Carol Steen

Here is the picture i took at breakfast- i wish i could attach the feel and smells


And here is a similar rich ecosystem landscape in Medellin






Art Science Residencies call- Changing the Human-Nature relationship in Marseille region


Here is a reminder for the art science residencies called in the region of Marseille, France

to address environmental and climate chante in the region. I will be serving on the jury. The goal is to have among the 8 artists selected an international distribution with artists involved in natural parks in urban areas ( Capetown, Rio, Tokyo..) and others with establish art and environment practices from other countries as well as france.

deadline is June 22

roger malina


Current changes in the environment are provoking questions about ourselves and the HumanNature relationships more and more often.

DEADLINE The call for applications is open from April 17th to June 22nd, 2017 (midnight – Paris Time). APPLICATIONS Applications can be in English or French. Candidates should submit their applications online ONLY: Applications must include: • Online application form • Project description OR area of inquiry (1 200 – 2 000 words) • Resume(s) for the artist(s) • Presentation of previous works . Accompanied by researchers, officers and users of the park, selected artists will be invited to re-invent links between nature and inhabitants of the Marseille metropolitan area in the setting of the Calanques National Park

DURATION OF THE RESIDENCY The residency will take place from January 10th to February 14th, 2018. STIPEND An overall one-time stipend of 2 000 EUR will be granted to each selected project to cover expenditure associated with the residency (including food and daily expenses). Funding for basic transportation to and from Cassis is available. In the case of air travel, basic coach class booked far in advance is covered. ACCOMODATION free Accommodation is an individual furnished apartment with bathroom and kitchen at Camargo

DEADLINE The call for applications is open from April 17th to June 22nd, 2017 (midnight – Paris Time). APPLICATIONS Applications can be in English or French. Candidates should submit their applications online ONLY:

Applications must include: • Online application form • Project description OR area of inquiry (1 200 – 2 000 words) • Resume(s) for the artist(s) • Presentation of previous works



Residency for 8 international artists or collectives to work on the links Human-Nature in the specific context of the Calanques National Park, peri-urban national park. Program in partnership with the Calanques National Park and the researchers of the Pytheas Institute based on a text written by Gilles Clément, gardener, landscape architect and writer.
Applications from artists who have worked in other peri-urban national parks such as Cape Town, Mumbai, Nairobi, Rio, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo are encouraged.
Deadline: June 22 2017 / Residency from January 10 to February 14, 2018

For more information