Heads Up – Skulls brains and the evidence before our eyes
LVMH Lecture Theatre. CSM. 14th February 2014

Speakers //
Thiago Carvalho: Lymphocyte Physiology Research Group at the Instituto Gulbenkian De Ciência, Portugal
Karen Liu: Department of Craniofacial Development & Stem Biology at Kings College London.
Rob Kesseler: Chair of Arts Design & Science, Central Saint Martins

Agenda: Evolutionary forces acting upon the development of the head and the brain have stimulated extensive scientific enquiry. The visualization and interpretation of this research by both scientists and artists might be considered as a constantly shifting terrain subject to revision. The event explored the territories of craniofacial development and the diverse forms of interpretation. The event was introduced by Rob Kesseler with a brief overview on the ways in which the head has been represented by artists. Thiago Carvalho revealed some the problems of identification, from the mythical misappropriation of unicorns to the Java Mermaid. Karen Liu explored the role of contemporary science in analysing the development of the skull and the way in which the head might be seen an evolutionary innovation. She brought skull samples from her lab for a handling session at the end of the talk.


Life through a Lens //
London Laser at Central Saint Martins. 2014

Life through a lens explored the role of microscopic imaging in plant science and Kesseler’s collaborative work with Kew Gardens and the Gulbenkian Science Institute. The talk unwrapped some of the subtle complexities of the processes he uses and how they differ from the way plant scientists work.

Art Science and the Artisan //
Wimbledon College of Arts. 7th May 2015

Rob Kesseler: Chair of Arts Design & Science, Central Saint Martins
Mark Fairnington: Reader in Painting, Wimbledon College of Arts

There is a long continuum in which artists and scientists have worked together and as individuals in an examination of the living world, to understand, to share and to extend the boundaries of knowledge. Art, Science and the Artisan explored the role that the image and the object have played in celebrating and extending new knowledge. The discussion explored aspects of illustration and applied arts and the unhelpful hierarchies and attitudes to which they are subjected.



Convergent territories // MSI Rory Comerford Memorial Lecture 2016
Science Gallery. Dublin

Convergent Territories //
Puerto De Ideas : Festival of Science, Antofagasta, Chile. 2015

Convergent Territories // Guest speaker, 10th International Botanical Microscopy Meeting
University of Exeter. 2015

To move out into another’s territory, to engage with their discipline in a way that goes beyond the superficial, to share ideas and to explore areas of commonality and difference is a privilege. Perhaps we are moving to a time when it is becoming inevitable that the territories of art & science will converge, we might go as far as to say it is essential. For the past fifteen years Rob Kesseler has collaborated with scientists across a range of specialisms, plant morphologists, cell biologists, bacteriologists and geneticists, to explore the living world at a microscopic level. It is an astonishing territory of complex patterns and structures that underpin life, one which he is passionate to share and inspire others through the artworks, books and events he creates. The lecture will reveal some of the convergent territories and histories that unite the arts & sciences and underpin his work, from the Micrographia of Robert Hooke to plant geneticists generating 3D forms to reveal flower development. The talk will show a range of the work he has produced, from drawings to electron micrographs and from works in glass to printed fabrics.


Between Truth and Transgression: The shifting nature of the scientific image //
Taboo-Transgression-Transcendance in Art & Science
Ionian University, Corfu Greece. 2016

Presentation and panel discussion
Olga Pombo: Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Rob Kesseler: Chair of Arts Design & Science, Central Saint Martins
Catarina Nabais: Centre for Philosophy of Science of the University of Lisbon, Portugal

In a recent advert on the website of the Royal Microscopic Society a course was being offered in ‘enhancing your image’. The course aimed “to give delegates an introduction to the basics in colouring and enhancing images taken on a microscope with Adobe Photoshop, enabling them to make their images even more beautiful and inspiring”. So how does this square with scientific truth?
Transgressive boundaries evolve out of habit and ignorance. To dissolve the barriers, to create meaningful, informed work that goes beyond the superficial, beyond the “creative bypassing of scientific grammar”, to explore ideas of commonality and difference that can straddle these seemingly detached communities requires a deeper exchange.


Restless Futures //
Central Saint Martins 2015

Expanding Boundaries
Investigated exporting the methods and concepts of the arts and design presents an opportunity for meaningful engagement with business, science, culture and society.


Design by Nature //
London College of Communication 2014

Pecha Kucha Event

Speakers //
Richard James MacCowan of Biomimicry UK – Biomimicry as a tool.
Danny Miller of ‘Human After All’ & Little Whites Lies – Transformational power of nature.
Leo Hollis Author of Cities are Good for You – Decoding the City / Future cities.
Johanna Schmeer RCA – Bio-materials and future living
Rob Kesseler UAL Chair of Arts, Design & Science – Cells and design.
Richard Underwood The Magic of Mushrooms – Year One GMD student
Dr Bob Bloomfield OBE Biomimicry & Natural Capital.
James Wood Forager and Artist – Natural Colour.
Aran Dasan of Ento RCA Graduate & Entrpreneur – New perspectives on Insects
Peter Crnokrak of The Luxury of Protest – Science and design experiment.
Veronica Kingsley of Interface: RIBA CPD module on biomimicry.
Tobias Revell of Superflux: Bio-Future innovation and the city.