Series of public events in the Science gallery
Thursday, March 1, 2012 – 18:00 – 20:00

This series of public events, taking place in international settings, investigate the new ethical issues arising from art and science collaboration and consider the roles and responsibilities of the artists, scientists and institutions involved.

At each event (before a live audience) an internationally known artist will propose an artwork to a specially formed ethics committee (following the rules and procedures typical for the host country), the ethics committee will then debate the proposal and come to a decision, the artist will then be informed of the ethics committee’s decision and, alongside the audience, they can enter into a discussion about the result.

The proposals have been selected as they raise interesting questions for science ethics committees and will help reveal the mechanisms that drive this usually hidden process, enabling the wider public to understand the driving forces behind ethical decisions and the role of artists working in scientific settings more deeply.

The project “Trust Me I’m an Artist: Towards an Ethics of Art/Science Collaboration” is led by artist Anna Dumitriu in collaboration with Professor Bobbie Farsides (Chair of Ethics, Brighton and Sussex Medical School) in collaboration with the Waag Society and The University of Leiden.

Previous events in this series have taken place at The Waag Society in Amsterdam which debated Adam Zaretsky’s project “Mutate or Die” and at The Arts Catalyst in London which debated Neal White’s “Self experimentation and the ethics committee of 1”.

Event Timetable

6:00 Introduction by Lucas Evers (Waag Society, Amsterdam) and Professor Bobbie Farsides (Brighton and Sussex Medical School)

6:10 Anna Dumitriu project presentation plus 10 minutes for questions and clarifications

6:40 Artist goes out and ethics committee debate the project. Coming to a decision on whether to allow the project as it stands or place certain restrictions.

7:10 Break for refreshments

7:30 Artist comes back in and is told decision, at this point they can ask questions and begin to discuss

7:40 Audience invited to ask questions and raise points.

8:00 End

Event 3: Anna Dumitriu “Confronting the Bacterial Sublime: Building a Biosafety Level 2 Lab in a Gallery”


Anna Dumitriu is proposing the construction of a portable Biosafety Level 2 Microbiology Laboratory for use in art gallery settings. The purpose of the space will be to allow the exhibition of artworks created using pathogenic and genetically modified bacteria and to provide supervised access and hands on practical transdisciplinary art and microbiology workshops for the public. Dumitriu has previously exhibited a number of works created using GM and pathogenic bacteria that have either been killed and sterilised or filmed in remote settings (including her contribution The Science Gallery exhibition “Infectious” entitled “Cybernetic Bacteria 2.0 which made links between human digital communication and bacterial chemical communication). In this work she seeks to enable the audience to experience what it feels like to be confronted with the intricate behaviours of living bacteria in their most sublime form.


Paccar Theatre
Free – prebooking essential