Heather Barnett

Profile image of Lecturer MA Art and Science Convenor of Art/Design and Science Research Group

Lecturer MA Art and Science Convenor of Art/Design and Science Research Group

Central Saint Martins

Biography

Heather Barnett is an artist, researcher and educator working at the intersections of art, science and technology, often in collaboration with scientists, artists, participants and organisms. Employing imaging technologies and biological systems, projects include microbial portraiture, cellular wallpapers, performing cuttlefish, and an ongoing ‘collaboration’ with an intelligent slime mould, Physarum polycephalum.

Heather has held Research Fellowships at the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics and consulted on arts, health and science projects for organisations such as Willis Newson, the Science Museum, and the Wellcome Trust.

As Artist in Residence, Heather has worked with diverse organisations including L’Autre Pied Restaurant, Infoterra Remote Sensing Company, and Poole Hospital Pathology Department. Commissions include the Postgraduate Medical Institute (Anglia Ruskin University), Flow (Guy’s Hospital Cancer Day Unit), Small Worlds (The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University) and The Other Flower Show (Victoria and Albert Museum).

Heather is Course Lecturer on the MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins, convenor of the Art/Design and Science Research Group (CSM), and a founding member of LENS community of practice connecting art, design and science researchers (UAL). Heather is a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow, and chairs London LASER, a series of talks exploring interconnections between art and science.

Research interests

Art and science, interdisciplinary collaborative practices, biological systems, imaging technologies, emergence, model organisms, creative processes, collective intelligence, embodied cognition, complexity.

Research statement

My artistic practice engages with natural phenomena, complex systems and biological design, using diverse methods including printmaking and photography, animation and video, installation and participatory experimentation. Often working with living materials and imaging technologies, my work explores how we observe, influence and understand the world around us. I am interested in the underlying principles of emergence within natural and cultural systems and in making visible that which can’t easily be seen.

Current work explores the use of model organisms in diverse areas of research, often employing a slime mould – a single celled organism with primitive intelligence and problem solving capabilities. The Physarum Experiments is a multi-facetted series of collaborations and experiments connecting social, biological and technological readings of collective behaviour. I am the founding member of the research network ‘slimoco’ (The Slime Mould Collective).

I am strongly committed to interdisciplinary learning and knowledge exchange. I deliver art and science projects with a range of organisations encouraging wider dissemination of creative transdisciplinary practice. In addition to my teaching, I provide consultation to organisations developing art and science curricula and have published academic papers, books and chapters on the subject. In 2012 I was awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship.

Project awards, and grants

Art commissions

Commissioned Artist in Restaurant at L’Autre Pied Restaurant, London, 2014.

Public Art Commission, Proto… Meta… Intra…  for Anglia Ruskin University, Medical Research Institute, 2011.

Public Art Commission, Flow for Guy’s Hospital Chemotherapy Day Unit, 2010

Teaching Awards

Teaching Award, University of the Arts London, 2016.

National Teaching Fellow, Higher Education Academy, 2012.

Learning and Teaching Fellow, University of Westminster, 2011.

Selected research outputs