Arts stories from Science Week

National Science Week

Bleaching hits a crocheted coral reef in Darwin all next week

The muddy trenches of World War I and the mucus-lined trenches of a nurse’s gut – a graphic novel – Saturday 20th in Melbourne, VIC

Improvised climate change in Melbourne tonight, 11 August

Sex, dragons and music – Homer’s Iliad for lizards tonight, 11 August in Acton, ACT

How synthesisers revolutionised pop culture – this Sunday in Wagga Wagga, NSW


  • Keith-Armstrong-Light-of-Extinction-2014.-Image-Bryan-Spencer-web-1200x799Indigenous music, science and art that’s ‘All in the Mind’ – next Tuesday in Cairns, QLD
  • Celestial wilderness exhibition – next week in York, WA
  • The sights, sounds and science of a ‘River Journey’ – Paddington, NSW
  • Movement and drawing on an Antarctic journey – multiple events in Hobart, TAS
  • New media exploring the ocean’s depths – now on, with panel talk next Thursday in Ultimo, NSW

More on each below.

Find more National Science Week events online at 

Improvising your stories of climate change – Northcote, VIC

‘Creating a Climate for Change’ is theatre performance made on the spot as Playback Theatre Company’s skilled improvisors translate climate science and your experiences into theatre.

Climate4_ChangeWEBCan climate solutions make our lives better as well as addressing this enormous threat? This event looks more broadly at how we live – health, community and connection, work, home and family.

The performance will be initiated by a panel discussion of the currently available climate solutions, their potential impact on our lives, and of overcoming the barriers to achieving a safer future—providing the conceptual material for the performers to work with.

Panellists include Rob Adams, director of city design with Melbourne City; Lucy Best of Positive Charge; and Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions.

Thurs 11 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Danny Diesendorf,, 0413 272 614

Sex, dragons and music – Acton, ACT

Join the Griffyn Ensemble’s investigation of life and evolution, with their multimedia journey into the sexual reproduction of bearded dragons with music, wildlife footage, and interviews, all told through music and song – think Homer’s Iliad for lizards!

Griffyn’s annual National Science Week concert will explore the sex-determination of one of the world’s most popular reptiles. This collaboration with scientists from the University of Canberra delves into cutting-edge research into the genomes of reptiles, how high temperatures cause sex reversal in the embryos of the bearded dragon, and the wider implications of such changes.

The concert features a variety of musical genres combined with video footage and interviews, with works by David Lang, Philip Glass, The Kinks, David Bowie, and Australian composers Martin Wesley-Smith, Michael Sollis and Ross Edwards.

Thurs 11 Aug Event details Enquiries: Kiri Sollis, or 0466 480 104

Exploring ocean depths: ‘Over Many Horizons’ – Ultimo, NSW

Visualise and explore the unseen marine depths and understand human impacts on the environment in an interactive and experiential exhibition, presented by UTS Gallery.

Keith-Armstrong-Light-of-Extinction-2014.-Image-Bryan-Spencer-web-1200x799New media artist and researcher Dr Keith Armstrong collaborates with marine biologists and life scientists, exploring climate vulnerability in marine ecologies.

Audiences will explore the exhibition, encountering robotically controlled kinetic light works, telescopic tunnels of ethereal imagery and sound and gently pulsing, ambiguous surfaces.

The exhibition’s panel event will bring together multiple perspectives to ask ‘if science can only do so much, what kind of help can the arts bring?

Exhibition: Tues 2 Aug – Fri 23 Sept Event details. Panel talk: Thurs 18 Aug Event details.

Enquiries: Eleanor Zeichner, or 02 9514 1652

A history of sound synthesisers – Wagga Wagga, NSW

Join Dave Burraston as he traces the development of synthesisers, revealing how science and art intersected to pioneer the sounds that revolutionised pop culture.

Dave is a generative artist/scientist involved in technology and electronic music since the late 70s. He maintains his own independent research studio called Noyzelab. He has performed music and video worldwide and worked on many collaborative projects with artists and scientists from around the globe.

Sun 14 Aug Event details.

Enquiries: Museum of the Riverina, or 02 6926 9655

Crocheted coral and knitted reefs communicating climate change – Darwin, NT

crocheted_-corals-300x225Territory Wildlife Park has been working with local community craft groups as well as individuals from around Australia to create a three-dimensional artistic installation. It consists of six two-metre tall jetty pylons that will be covered in crocheted, knitted and needle-felted corals and marine animals.

This community art installation has been designed to raise awareness of the impact of global warming on our coral reef systems in oceans and seas around the world. The installation will also serve as a visual explanation of what coral bleaching looks like as the coral pylons will transition from a pylon covered with healthy brightly coloured corals to a pylon with dead bleached corals.

Mon 15 – Fri 19 Aug Event details. Enquiries: Jasmine Jan, or 08 8988 7228

Café Scientifique: Science, Music & Art – All in the Mind – Cairns, QLD

Find out about parasites that can live in your brain, the extraordinary behaviour of rodents, what the brain has to do with the perception of pain, and what James Cook University (JCU) researchers are doing to help people survive brain injuries.

JCU creative media researchers will create Brainwave, an interactive art piece using science knowledge; and Naomi Wenitong, an Indigenous singer-songwriter born in Cairns, will tell her unique and inspirational story.

Tues 16 Aug Event details Enquiries: Lisa Jones, or 07 4232 1311

Astrophotography Roadshow – York, WA

Explore the celestial wilderness around us with a display of 15 stunning images featuring some of the most remarkable astronomical events to be seen in Australia.

Curator and astronomer Dr John Goldsmith will display the 2016 Astrophotography exhibition. The general public will have access to view 15 stunning images.

Under the guidance of Dr Goldsmith, observers will gain a deeper understanding of the celestial wilderness and the profound influences astronomical knowledge has and continues to have on human culture.

Wed 17 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Esmeralda Harmer, or 08 9641 2328

The sights, sounds and science of a ‘River Journey’ – Paddington, NSW

River Journey is a ‘science meets art’ exhibition aimed to stimulate a national conversation about the importance of rivers and wetlands.

Following a river’s journey from source to sea, this exhibition captures its vibrancy in photography, video and sound, reflecting its incredible biodiversity but also illustrating the enormous management challenges and effects of competition for scarce water resources.

It will be accompanied by a panel discussion between participating artists and scientists, pitched at audiences from both disciplines, and an illustrated public talk by leading scientist Richard Kingsford that invites attendees to see ‘behind the scenes’ of the data and imagery featured in the exhibition.

Thurs 18 – Fri 20 Aug Event details.

Enquiries: Natalie Dean, or 02 8936 0888

Movement and drawing inspired by an Antartic voyage – Hobart, TAS

In January 2016, visual artist Annalise Rees and choreographer James Batchelor joined a team of scientific researchers aboard Australia’s Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator as part of a 58-day voyage to Heard and McDonald Islands in the sub-Antarctic. Annalise and James feature in a group of National Science Week events and an exhibition.

Artists’ talk: Into the unknown

Both James and Annalise explored their encounter with the unknown through movement- and drawing-based practices. These investigations ran parallel with research being carried out by an international complement of scientists, collecting data relating to the role of iron in the Southern Ocean.

Fri 19 Aug Event details. Enquiries: Annalise Rees,

Performance: DEEPSPACE

DEEPSPACE is a dance performance and Q&A put together by James and Annalise, combining movement, sound and installation. It examines the processes of searching for, collecting and ordering information that we use to understand the universe.

Fri 19 Aug Event details. Enquiries: Andy Baird, or 03 6165 7000.

Exhibition: Oceans of the unknown

Annalise Rees, along with fellow visual artist Dr Jan Hogan and marine spatial analyst Dr Vanessa Lucieer, has created an exhibition featuring drawing, sculpture, printmaking and photography.

The works explore ways of communicating ideas about the unknown and unseen environment of the ocean, creating a dialogue between disciplines where image making is a means of communicating effectively.

Mon 1 – Wed 31 Aug Event details. Enquiries: Annalise Rees,, 0400 296 466.

Microscopic battles in the large intestine – Melbourne, VIC

What does World War One have in common with your large intestine? Find out in a new graphic novel The Invisible War, to be launched at the Royal Society of Victoria.

The story is set in 1916, partly around the muddy trenches of World War One, and partly in the mucus-lined trenches of a nurse’s large intestine. It describes a vast, unseen world populated by bacteria and viruses, where microscopic battles between ancient enemies are waged on a daily basis.

The afternoon will feature an exhibition of original artwork by Ben Hutchings (illustrator of The Invisible War) and an interdisciplinary panel discussion led by The Science Show’s Robyn Williams.

Sat 20 Aug Event details Enquiries: Mike Flattley, or 03 9663 5259


About National Science Week

First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in over 1,500 events and activities.

In 2016, National Science Week events will be held right throughout Australia—from astronomy at Uluru to a science film night in the Antarctic—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and sponsors Cosmos, Discovery Science, NewScientist and Popular Science.

National Science Week 2016 will run from 13 – 21 August. Event details can be found at


National Science Week general media enquiries:

Tanya Ha – or call 0404 083 863