Art and science converge during the 2016 National Science Week which unfolds across Sydney this week. The results will inspire, confound, intrigue, educate, and entertain.

As part of this nation wide celebration, UNSW Art & Design is hosting a range of special exhibitions, talks, and events, both on and off campus.

Everything is free and open to the public. We invite you to join in and get involved in a celebration and exploration of the realms of science and creativity.

Video/Film Installation - Australian Premiere

Vertigo Sea, the compelling work universally acclaimed at last year’s Venice Biennale by British filmmaker, John Akomfrah, screens at UNSW Galleries.

Date and Time: Thursday 18 August, 6-8pm

Location: UNSW Galleries


Troubled Waters, the major new UNSW Galleries season, examines the fallout of human activity and climate change on natural and marine environments. Works by nationally and internationally renowned artists and scientists will be on show.

John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea, and Australian documentary maker Georgia Wallace-Crabbe’s five-screen film installation, The Earth and the Elements, form two major solo exhibitions in the Troubled Waters series.

River Journey is a collaborative undertaking between the UNSW Science and UNSW Art & Design examining the impact of human activity on Australia’s aquatic environments from the perspective of leading scientific researchers, sound, installation and photo-based artists: Andrew Belletty, Nici Cumpston, Tamara Dean, Bonita Ely, Janet Laurence and scientists from UNSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science led by Professor Richard Kingsford.

Date and Time: Thursday 18 August, 6-8pm

Running: Tuesday - Saturday until 5 November, 10am – 5pm

Location: UNSW Galleries 

New Romance: art and the post-human at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and co-curated by UNSW Art & Design graduate Anna Davis brings together re-imaginings of our place in the world as one intelligent life form among others. Korean and Australian artists included in the project are Rebecca Baumann, Ian Burns, Hayden Fowler (UNSW Art & Design graduate), Siyon Jin, Arian Kang, Sanghyun Lee, Soyo Lee, Wade Marynowsky (UNSW Art & Design graduate), Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, Patricia Piccinini and Peter Hennessey, Kibong Rhee, Justin Shoulder (UNSW Art & Design graduate), Giselle Stanborough (UNSW Art & Design graduate), Stelarc and Nina Sellars, and Wonbin Yang.

Date and Time: Daily 10am – 5pm

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art

Panel Discussion Session

The River Journey panel session encourages further discussion and examination of the ecological issues facing Australia as seen through the eyes of scientists and artists. Please join scientists Professor Richard Kingsford, Dr Kate Brandis, and Claire Sives, as well as artists Andrew Belletty and Bonita Ely to explore their research and creative practices. The panel session will be followed by an exclusive exhibition preview.

Date and Time: Thursday 18 August, 10–11am

Location: UNSW Galleries 

Special Lecture

In this one-off River Journey lecture, Professor Richard Kingsford, Director of the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science, will discuss the grand challenge of water system management in Australia. Taking into account human need and expectation versus long-term maintenance, protection and restoration of the Murray-Darling Basin, Professor Kingsford examines the benefits and costs of new developments. 

Date and Time: Thursday 18 August, 5.15-5.45pm

Location: Main Lecture Theatre, EG02, UNSW Art & Design campus, Paddington

UNSW Galleries Tours

Become acquainted with the specially commissioned artworks in this collaborative project, River Journey, and the scientific underpinnings of the background research. River Journey gallery tours will be hosted by Dr Felicity Fenner, Director of UNSW Galleries. The morning tour will have her speaking with Australian filmmaker, Georgia Wallace-Crabbe, and Indigenous artist, Nici Cumpston. The afternoon tour will have Fenner in discussion with cinematic sound artist, Andrew Belletty.

Date and Time: Saturday 20 August 11.30am and 2.30pm

Location: UNSW Galleries 

Panel Discussion Session

Can art be created using artificial intelligence? Do human audiences appreciate art created by machines? Is there a way for AI to create, enjoy or respond to the beauty of art? These are the topics open for discussion at this special talk featuring Professor Mary-Anne Williams, Director of the Innovation and Enterprise Research Laboratory (the Magic Lab) at UTS; Dr Ollie Bown, a researcher in computing and creativity (UNSW Art & Design) and a practicing electronic musician working experimentally with new technology; and Dr Astrid Zeman, a computational neuroscientist who programs artificial brains that mimic how our brains processes images.

Date and Time: Thursday 18 August, 6–9pm

Location: Fishburners, Ultimo 


Join UNSW Art & Design lecturer, Louise Fowler-Smith in a special workshop aimed at reacquainting people with the vital importance of trees to all living systems. Discovering Trees via Our Senses & Imagination will involve listening, touching, seeing, smelling, and art making.  

Date and Time: Saturday, 20 August, 10am - 3pm
Location: Mount Annan, Campbelltown

Special Art/Science Event

Tonight, we invite you to become familiar with the ever-expanding area of Quantum Physics and Art. Associate Professor Paul Thomas (artist and lecturer, UNSW Art & Design) and Professor Andrea Morello (quantum physicist, UNSW Engineering) will discuss and present their collaborative work demonstrating links between quantum physics, computing, consciousness, and artistic expression. 

Date and Time: Wednesday, 17 August, 6-9pm,

Location: The Black Box, UNSW Art & Design, Paddington