Jo Berry has implemented playful, creative methodologies to seek art’s value, purpose and interpretational impact when it takes as its start point advanced imaging and microscopy. Her claim is that art can be a significant contributing factor to new directives in advanced imaging and microscopy; its impact intensified through applying play as a method to interrogate ideas, processes and outcomes. She offers a new model of research, which engages play as the critical driver to accomplish a more agile, accessible and open method of examining science via a different set of criteria. This hypothesis is based on my own prior experience as a researcher working directly with scientists and experiencing scientific method where I became convinced that artists should be central to scientific inquiry not just working on the periphery. As it would seem there needs to be a paradigm shift within science which, she claims, can be activated through examining play through art and identifying its effect on aspects of culture, creativity and aesthetics.
The research she has undertaken has its roots in a collaboration of over 10 years with the School of Life Sciences, Nottingham University and their project Advanced imaging and Microscopy. Hijacking Natural Systems funded by Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England, Derby City Council and Derby Museum & Arts Gallery. This was a highly successful project nominated by Nottingham University
for The Times Higher Education Award and cited by the Wellcome Trust as an exemplar of a successful Arts and Engagement project. Artwork from this project was featured in the BBC4 TV series The Beauty of Anatomy presented by Dr Adam Rutherford.
The work focused on understanding the events that happen inside cells in response to Grehlin, and how this information could be used to develop drugs that turn hunger on and off as possible treatments for obesity and diabetes. The research and artwork produced provides a visual interpretation of how the hunger hormone Grehlin stimulates the body’s cells.
Drawn in Light
Video Credit: Drawn in Light. Jo Berry.
This led to further collaborations with a wider network of five internationally renowned research laboratories in the field of bio-science:
- COMPARE, The Cell Signalling and Pharmacology Group and a minor study at the Molecular and the Cellular Biology Group, School of Life Sciences, Queens Medial School, University of Nottingham.
- COMPARE, Cardio Vascular Sciences, Medical and Dental Schools, Birmingham University
- Core Research Laboratories Imaging and Analysis Centre, Natural History Museum (NHM), London,
- The Centre for Cellular Imaging (CCI) Sahlgrenska Academy Gothenburg University, Chalmers University and the Biofilms, Research Centre for Bio-interfaces, Malmo University.
Video Credit: Skin. Jo Berry.
The film Skin is based on data from research at The Centre for Cellular Imaging (CCI) Sahlgrenska Academy Gothenburg University, Chalmers University and the Biofilms, Research Centre for Bio-interfaces, Malmo University.
Brain Container Blackpool Illuminations
Jo Berry (UK) has exhibited regularly throughout the UK and Internationally with pieces in the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Arts Council England (ACE) Collections, Nottingham University Medical School and Zeiss Microscopy Labs, Munich, Germany. From the year 2000 attaining cumulative money applications totalling £203K. Awarded by ACE, Wellcome Trust, AHRC, AHRB, ESPRC, local authorities, Arts for Health and global companies. Residencies include Florence Trust, London, Natural History Museum, London. Public commissions include Millfield Sculpture Commission, Derbyshire Moorlands, Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust, New Shetland Museum & Archives and Blackpool Illuminations.