Developing ethical frameworks for artists, cultural institutions and audiences engaged in the challenges of creating and experiencing new art forms in biotechnology and biomedicine in Europe.
The aim of this project was to investigate how artists and cultural institutions can best engage with biotechnology and biomedicine in order to drive innovation in artistic production, ways of presenting artworks, and developing new audiences in Europe. The main goal was to provide artists, cultural institutions and audiences with the skills to understand the ethical issues that arise in the creation and exhibition of artworks made in collaboration with biotechnology and biomedicine.
Additionally, the project provided science and technology collaborators with new ethical frameworks for successfully working with cultural and creative players. By giving confidence to stakeholders, we will opened up opportunities for artists and creative organisations to work in new partnerships across Europe and internationally.
Artists tend to work at the forefront of innovation and push boundaries whilst engaging in ethical and philosophical challenges that resonate through society around new technologies. This project wanted to situate them at the forefront of the latest research. The high impact outputs hopefully prompted new ways of thinking about how art, biotechnology, and biomedicine can intersect, and bring together diverse stakeholders and audiences to create new ways of working at the cutting edge of art, science, and technology.
“Trust Me, I’m an Artist” involved a series of practical and discussion-based participatory workshop activities. A major series of performative events (before a live audiences) also took place wherein a selected artist proposed an ethically complex artwork to a specially formed ethics committee (following the rules and procedures typical for the host country).
The ethics committee then debated the proposal and came to a decision, the artist was then informed of the ethics committee’s decision, and, alongside the audience, they could enter into a discussion about the result. The project also involved a symposium, a touring exhibition, publications, a website, and a distributable format designed to give other cultural institutions, artists groups, community groups, students, and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue by creating their own DIY 'Trust Me, I’m an Artist' events, leaving a strong legacy for what we learned.
The project was supported by funding from Creative Europe and was collaboration between Waag, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, The Arts Catalyst, Kapelica Gallery, Medical Museion, and Leonardo Olats. The lead artist on the project was Anna Dumitriu and the lead ethicist was Professor Bobbie Farsides.