This conference was held April 5-7, 2022. Click here for the conference report white paper.

April 6–7, 2022

Exploring the Use of Non-Science Themed Art in Science Education

Event Description

The integration of art and science is very common in the STEAM movement (Concordia University-Portland, 2019). However, such activities almost always involve art that has some relationship to science (a visualization of a scientific phenomenon, artistic interpretations of scientific models and processes, etc.). And in these activities, art is almost always cast in a subservient role to science.

But what about art for the sake of art? What about the use of non-scientific art in science education? What if art and science are treated as equals in these programs? Would that have a different type of impact? Could it open science education and artistic experiences up to new audiences and outcomes?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (2018) recently called for more research to expand the "limited but promising" evidence that integrating arts and humanities with science education leads to better learning. This two-day conference will bring together representatives of both art and science groups to have a shared discussion around how non-scientific art (i.e., art that was not inspired by science) can influence science learning.

Conference attendees will include both researchers (art and science education) and practitioners (artists, art museum interpreters, educators, exhibit developers and scientists). This will be a small, focused, and highly interactive event.

Key outcomes will include:

  1. A summary of all the research that has been conducted to date on using non-science art in science education
  2. Starting points for building a theory on how non-science art can be used in science education
  3. A list of specific research topics that would help inform, advance, and test the theory

This conference has been funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program (#1939342), which supports innovative research, approaches, and resources for use in a variety of learning settings.

For more information, please email us at