Art and science are often understood as polar opposite disciplines. Science brings to mind stats, beakers and test tubes, while the arts is associated with paintings, museums and berets. But let’s bust a myth right now: art and science are not mutually exclusive. Just look at Ocean Wise’s Vancouver Aquarium, where the arts and the sciences come together on the gallery floors. Our exhibits have to be aesthetically beautiful and engagingly written for the visitors, but at the same time they have to support aquatic inhabitants, requiring biological science. Suddenly art and science are not so far apart.

Still, science remains a scary concept to some. On January 29th, 2018, the Ocean Wise Education team held a workshop at the Lower Mainland Museum Educators (LMME) conference to address this long-perceived division between the disciplines.

Curriculum programs coordinator Rachael Bell-Irving in a barrier-busting workshop on artistic and scientific problem solving.

The workshop brought together people from a variety of disciplines to solve a scientific challenge. Together we explored how to create original informal education lesson plans, completely from scratch, using the topic of electricity. In small groups, teams of varied backgrounds, interests, expertise and careers came together to address the following topics:

  • How electricity influenced the development of cuisine
  • How electricity can be used in cuisine
  • Demonstrate the influence of electricity on trade

Some fruits from the interdisciplinary workshop at the LMME conference, held at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, BC.

The LMME conference was an opportunity for Ocean Wise Education to demonstrate how to empower students through interdisciplinary problem solving. The more we open our minds to new schools of thoughts, we can take even bigger steps toward positive change.

Since joining Ocean Wise Education as Curriculum Program Coordinators, we have come to realize just how much art and science need each other. We see interdisciplinary collaboration in the education programs, habitats, research, displays, multi-media storytelling, architecture, communication and food. The interdisciplinary relationship between arts and science is truly everywhere at Ocean Wise.

Rachael Bell-Irving and Stephanie Chong are Curriculum Program Coordinators for Ocean Wise Education. To learn more visit:   

The Lower Mainland Museum Educators is a collective of educators from museum and science institutions all around the Lower Mainland, with a passion for professional development through frequent peer-to-peer exchanges. At the conference this year were a number of speakers from Ocean Wise, including Public Programs manager Dr. Ruth Sharpe, Volunteer Services Manager Lindsay Baker and volunteer educator Naomi Higo. To learn more about the Lower Mainland Museum Educators, visit:





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