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Because we’re worth it: in an age of austerity we ask how best to nurture art and science

Because we’re worth it: in an age of austerity we ask how best to nurture art and science, chaired by Sir John Tusa
Thursday 28 July, Wellcome Collection

To mark the Wellcome Trust 75th Anniversary, Sir John Tusa and guests explored the relationship between science and the arts in a live panel debate that looked at the role of the Government and wider society in supporting the two fields.

Chaired by Sir John Tusa, the panel included leading sociologist and author Richard Sennett, space scientist Monica Grady and choreographer Siobhan Davies.

Looking back at the traditional divide between the two fields, the panel considered how far we have moved on from C.P. Snow's devastating critique of Britain's divided intellectual culture. Examining different notions of value, and the relative importance that society places on achievements in each field, the panelists considered and discussed what the future holds for the relationship today. Is there still room for productive engagement today, and what should it be?

Helen & Kate Storey

Prefacing the debate was an overview of Primitive Streak, the Wellcome Trust-funded project created by fashion designer Helen Storey with her sister, developmental biologist, Kate Storey. Primitive Streak is a collection of 29 dresses that chronicles the first 1000 hours of human embryonic development.

Originally funded as part of the Wellcome Trust’s Sciart initiative, aimed at bringing together the sciences and the arts, the project demonstrates the scope that exists for collaboration between the two fields.This image gallery showcases a selection of the Primitive Streak designs and some of the scientific inspiration.

Helen and Kate Storey
Helen and Kate Storey
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Helen and Kate Storey.
The Branching of the Bronchial Tree in the Lungs
The Branching of the Bronchial Tree in the Lungs
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The Branching of the Bronchial Tree in the Lungs. Credit: Metzger and Krasnow.
Lung Dress Sketch
Lung Dress Sketch
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Lung Dress Sketch. Credit: Helen Storey.
Heart Tube Hat
Heart Tube Hat
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Heart Tube Hat. Credit: Helen Storey; Photography, John Ross; Model, Connie Chiu.
Heart Tube in a Developing Embryo
Heart Tube in a Developing Embryo
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Heart Tube in a Developing Embryo. Credit: Kate Storey.
Anaphase Dress and Bodice
Anaphase Dress and Bodice
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Anaphase Dress and Bodice. Credit: Photography, Justine; model Korinna at Models 1.
Cell in Anaphase
Cell in Anaphase
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Cell in Anaphase (bottom right). Credit: Dr David Becker, Wellcome Images.
Sperm Cage Dress
Sperm Cage Dress
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Sperm Cage Dress. Credit: Photography, Justine; model Korinna at Models 1.
Nerve Net Dress
 Nerve Net Dress
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Nerve Net Dress. Credit: Photography, Justine; model Korinna at Models 1.
Developing Neural Tube
 Developing Neural Tube
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Developing Neural Tube. Credit: Kate Storey.
Closing Neural Tube Dress
 Closing Neural Tube Dress
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Closing Neural Tube Dress. Credit: Photography, Justine; model Korinna at Models 1.

A short question and answer session with the pair was held to open the floor.

Speakers

Chair: Sir John Tusa, Leading British broadcaster and arts commentator, formerly MD of BBC World Service and MD of the Barbican.

“The Wellcome Trust has achieved extraordinary things in the last 75 years, and has transformed all our lives in the process. I was honoured to chair the Wellcome Trust 75th Anniversary debate, which raises essential questions about the relationship between the sciences and the arts, and their future in a civilized society.” Sir John Tusa.

Panelists:
Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology, New York University and London School of Economics,
Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Science, The Open University,
Siobhan Davies, Founder, Siobhan Davies Dance and Studios.

Primitive Streak:
Helen Storey, Professor of Fashion and Science, London College of Fashion,
Kate Storey, Professor of Neural Development, University of Dundee.

The Because we?re worth it event chaired by Sir John Tusa at the Wellcome Collection
From left to right: Professor Richard Sennett, Sir John Tusa, Siobhan Davies, Professor Monica Grady.

Because we’re worth it
Thursday 28 July, 19.00–20.30
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London. NW1 2BE

Image credit: Sir John Tusa chairs ‘Because we’re worth it’ at the Wellcome Collection. Credit: Wellcome Library.

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