By Margot Greenlee, Martina Jerant and Veronica Dittman Stanich
What do the arts bring to interdisciplinary research? Can arts practices lead STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) researchers to new insights on their work?
We—a choreographer-and-professional-facilitator (Margot), a scientist-athlete-facilitator-entrepreneur (Martina), and a dancer-turned-arts-researcher (Veronica)—had a hunch that the arts have something to offer STEMM researchers: a different understanding of their own work.
We posited that thoughts are intertwined with actions, and when there is no opportunity to do things differently, it’s hard to think differently—to get a fresh perspective. By “actions”, we mean the practices researchers do every day as part of their work: for example, read, collect data, analyze data, present ideas in written form, revise that writing. Whatever the typical practices of a field or discipline are, as researchers train and eventually become experts in that field, its practices become habitual.