Visualising Science - HI867

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
View Timetable
7 30 (15)







This module considers in depth the visual presentation of science in its many forms. It encompasses the artistic representation of, and engagement with, science; the: visual construction of knowledge through the museum (from cabinets of curiosity to contemporary exhibits); the visual construction of knowledge through graphs, diagrams and imaging; the creation and significance of 'scientific icons' such as famous portraits of scientists and the instantly recognisable double helix. To what end are these images produced? How are they consumed? How do they affect the nature of science, and how can they be used wisely by science communicators?


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 280
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay 3000 words 50%
Portfolio 4000 words and 5 images 50%

Indicative reading

Arends, B., Slater, V. (eds.) (2004) Talking Back to Science: Art, Science and the Personal . London.
Boswell,D. & Evans,J. (eds) (1999) Representing the Nation. A Reader: Histories, heritage and museums (London).
Butler, Stella V.F. (1992) Science and Technology Museums (Leicester).
Field, J.V. (1997) Science in Art: Works in the National Gallery that Illustrate the History of Science and Technology. Stanford in the Vale: British Society for the History of Science.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Students who take this module will gain knowledge of the role of art and visual representation in the history of science.
8.2 They will have acquired an appreciation of the social and cultural mechanisms that have shaped the visual production of scientific knowledge.
8.3 They will understand the historic role of images in propagating and shaping scientific knowledge.
8.4 They will understand scholarly debates surrounding the problematic concept of 'unmediated' knowledge.

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