Project Description

A Visual Approach: The Forms in Scientific Manuscripts created by Pantea Karimi
Sponsored by the City of San Jose, 
Arts and Cultural Exchange Grant


Pantea Karimi

Collaborators in Dublin, Ireland: Chester Beatty Education and the Festival of Curiosity and Science Foundation of Ireland. 
Chester Beatty                             
Festival of Curiosity and Science Foundation

Project Description:  My Arts and Cultural Exchange project had two parts and was conducted in the Chester Beatty in Dublin, Ireland in July 2019. Part 1.A series of workshops for teens titled, A Visual Approach: The Forms in Scientific Manuscripts and a family workshop with the same theme for all age groups. Part 2. Creating a collaborative primary STEAM Learning Resource for age groups 14 & 15.  Workshops' process and content highlighted the intersection of art and science and directly based on my own art, research and the Chester Beatty Library's medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts. Furthermore, the workshop hands-on activities highlighted visual learning, specifically kinesthetic learning. 

Resources: Students used traditional art materials, research, tech gadgets, and visited the manuscripts on display at the Chester Beatty Museum. All workshops included a PowerPoint presentation with images and descriptions of the select manuscript pages with essential vocabularies and terms. 
Project Highlights: My project is one example of a work-relationship with a museum and its education department, where we discussed ideas, used the museum and library’s collection to engage students on a deeper level on both artistic and scientific subjects. My project and the relationship that we developed at the Chester Beatty encouraged and highlighted art as a learning tool and STEAM as part of education.  The projects further revealed the rich collection of the Chester Beatty and made students and even staff to become aware of the possibilities and potentials these manuscripts could provide for youths’ education. The activities’ process and outcome aimed to bridge history, science, and art creatively and explore the ways in which students could respond to scientific ideas both visually and conceptually. The workshop encouraged innovative thinking, curiosity about and sensitivity towards world cultural artifacts, their history, and multiple meanings. Participants, therefore, benefited in discovering objects, their meanings, and connections between them, and how it affected us and our perception of the world.

The impact of Arts and Cultural Exchange Grant: The impact of this exchange project has been great on all aspects of my own work; it brought deeper attention and focus on my teaching, art practice as well as research. I was able to visit the Chester Beatty’s select manuscripts in person which was a unique experience. I was also able to network and introduce ideas and educational resources available in California to the Chester Beatty Education staff and equally learn from their experiences. This funded exchange project has further provided a platform to comment, discuss and share more ideas about the intersection of art and science among communities both locally and internationally. The project full content is based on the Library's collection, which was exposed to Dublin's participants, who would otherwise not be inclined to access. San Jose participants can use or adapt any parts of the project and implement it to their own classrooms' projects. I see these scientific manuscripts not only representative of the progression of scientific ideas throughout history but also representative of cultures and their values. I anticipate the overall impact of the exchange as educational, cultural, curious and creative on both international and local participants.

Chester Beatty, Garden and inside the Museum

Pantea Karimi is a Member of Intersection for the Arts. Intersection for the Arts provides Bay Area based artists and 5 arts organizations with resources, community and cultural space in order to develop sustainable practices.

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