The 21st Century is characterised by high levels of volatility, uncertainty and complexity. Hence, rapidly evolving technological advancements and social trends require that engineering solutions involve more than technical competency.
Today’s technology practitioners must not only be creative, have the ability to navigate complex environments in order to succeed, but in addition must also nurture empathy. One of the best ways to learn these skills is through the arts; not to become an artist, but to acquire novel ways of thinking, perceiving and doing.
This is a strategy to engage creative thinking in the pursuit of engineering design. Since engineering design is a combination of functionality, innovation and aesthetics, the process of involving students in artistic pursuit will not only invigorate design, it will also encourage engineering students to see technology differently.
Activities under Imagineering: Art meets Engineering will include visual art, digital art and performance art.
Art meets science in 2017
In 2017, an exhibit of seven pieces of art based on postgraduate research at UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) was a feature of the College’s Postgraduate Research and Innovation Day which attracted more than 700 participants.
The exhibit – the brainchild of Professor Thomas Konrad – was the result of academics from CAES and the College of Humanities pioneering a collaboration between science students and colleagues from the Centre for Visual Arts (CVA) in Pietermaritzburg.