About Us

The Cavendish Arts Science programme was founded in 2016 by Suchitra Sebastian, head of the Quantum Materials group, building on an extensive history of arts science engagement at the Cavendish Laboratory.

The current phase of the programme is generously supported by Una Ryan, a world-leading scientist in the field of biology, an alumna of Girton College and the University of Cambridge, and committed supporter of the arts.

Our Ethos

Questioning

We engage artists who bring alternative ways of knowing the world and create work that questions and disrupts the status quo. 
 

Collective Imagining

We bring together artists and scientists to collectively imagine in new ways that defy conventional thinking and open new spaces of enquiry.
 

Decentring

We work with artists with practices immersed in communities that are not privileged in the mainstream. 

Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory

The Cavendish Laboratory has an extraordinary history of discovery and innovation in Physics since its opening in 1874. Research in the Cavendish has been instrumental in our understanding of the physical world, from creating theories of electromagnetism and discovering the electron, to splitting the nucleus, and developing x‑ray crystallography to see inside the atom.

Today, fundamental questions addressed by research in the laboratory range from understanding space and the origin of the universe, to exploring time, matter and energy in all its forms and at every scale, from the very large to the inconceivably small.

In 2024, the Cavendish Laboratory will be moving to its new state-of-the-art and purpose-built home, the Ray Dolby Centre.

Team

Suchitra Sebastian, Director

Suchitra is Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge. Her research seeks to discover exotic quantum phases of matter in advanced materials. Her experiments reveal new material universes in which billions and billions of electrons interact with each other to yield surprising and unpredictable macroscopic quantum entangled phases. Her research explores emergent quantum phases including superconductivity, and a new unconventional insulating state of matter she recently discovered. Suchitra is co-founder of Bread Theatre and Film Company, Cambridge and a collaborator on the Radical Matter and Entanglement research programmes led by Johnny Golding at the Royal College of Art. She participates in scientific research solely for non-imperialistic, non-militaristic purposes.

Natasha Freedman, Creative Producer

Natasha is a freelance producer and director with experience of nurturing creative interdisciplinary collaborations, working with diverse communities, and using artistic practice to challenge and open ways of thinking.

She founded the pioneering performing arts programme at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, reimagined the learning programmes for English National Opera and Complicite theatre company, and co-led the culture climate organisation Cape Farewell.

As a practicing artist and facilitator, she has worked with the Royal College of Art, Central St Martin’s, National Gallery and Thinking through Drawing. She is a regular visiting tutor at the National Film and Television School and is on the Boards of Fevered Sleep and Improbable Theatre (Chair).

Sam Stokes, Programme Manager

Debbie Carminati, Programme Administrator

Creative Partners

Siân Ede

Siân was a pioneer of Art & Science programmes as Arts Director at the Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK Branch between 1997 – 2012. Her book Art and Science (2008) has met with international praise and she is also editor and co-author of Strange and Charmed: Science and the contemporary visual arts (2000). She has been advisor to the Royal Society, the Natural History Museum and the Wellcome Trust, and was the first woman to give the Royal Society’s prestigious Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Prize lecture on Art and Science in 2008. She is a member of the editorial committee of the academic journal Interdisciplinary Science Reviews and was co-editor, with science writer Philip Ball, of two volumes on Art & Science in 2017/18. She has recently stepped down as vice-chair of National Theatre Wales and is currently chair of Electric Voice Theatre which promotes the work of women in music and in science. 

Ariane Koek

Ariane is the founder and first director of Arts at CERN which she initiated, designed and directed for 5 years. She is an international transdisciplinary strategist, expert on artists residency programmes, as well as creative producer, curator and writer in arts, science, technology and ecology. Her exhibitions include Entangle: Physics and the Artistic Imagination which became a book. A former CEO of the Arvon Foundation for Creative Writing and BBC radio and TV staff producer, Ariane is on the advisory boards of European Commission's Joint Research Centre, HEK (House of Electronic Arts, Basel, Switzerland), the Edgelands Institute (Harvard University/Geneva), and Science Gallery Venice. She is also an Associate of the Exploratorium San Francisco, USA and one of the invited Creative Directors of City X the Italian Virtual Pavillion for the Venice Biennale 2021.

Andrew Nairne

Andrew is Director of Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge. He was previously Head of Arts Strategy at Arts Council England, where he led the development of the ten-year Strategic Framework for the Arts, ‘Achieving great art for everyone’. A former Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts and Modern Art Oxford, Andrew has developed exhibitions with numerous artists of international standing including Miroslaw Balka, Yael Bartana, Candice Breitz, Janet Cardiff / George Bures Miller, Tony Cragg, Daniel Buren, Olafur Eliasson, Tracey Emin, Callum Innes, Jannis Kounellis, Jim Lambie, Nalini Malani, Tracey Moffatt, Ernesto Neto, Mike Nelson, Katie Paterson, Katerina Seda, Fiona Tan and Huang Yong Ping.

Barry Phipps

Barry is Director of Studies in the History of Art at Churchill College, Fitzwilliam College and Hughes Hall, Cambridge and specialises in modern and contemporary art, often in relation to the sciences. He has written and lectured on a broad range of topics from post-war architecture to contemporary Nordic photography. Barry was the first Interdisciplinary Fellow at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge where he organised a number of multi-disciplinary exhibitions including Lines of Enquiry: Thinking Through Drawing (2006) and Beyond Measure: Conversations across Art and Science (2008). He is also Curator of Art and Science at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge.

Harold Offeh

Harold Offeh is an artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. He is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of histories, and employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture. He has exhibited and performed widely in the UK and internationally including Tate (Britain and Modern); South London Gallery; Kettle’s Yard; Wysing Art Centre; Studio Museum Harlem, New York; MAC VAL, France; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark and Art Tower Mito, Japan.

Offeh studied Critical Fine Art Practice at the University of Brighton and has an MA in Fine art Photography from the Royal College of Art, London and a PhD in Contemporary Art and Performance from Leeds Beckett University. He lives in Cambridge and works in London and Oxford as a Senior Tutor in Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford and a tutor in MA Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art, London.

Board

Una Ryan

Una is a life scientist in the fields of vascular biology, immunology, and biotechnology. She was the President and CEO of Diagnostics For All, a company that develops inexpensive diagnostics for global health and agriculture, and former President and CEO of AVANT Immunotherapeutics, which develops vaccines and immunotherapeutics for cancer, travellers, food safety, and global health. Una is also an active investor, committed supporter and patron of the arts, the founder of ULUX LLC, a company exploring the unity of intracellular and extraterrestrial spaces, and a former board member of the San Francisco Art Institute.

Elisabeth Kendall

Elisabeth is Mistress of Girton College at the University of Cambridge and a leading academic in the field of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Her current research explores how militant jihad groups use 'soft' culture (poetry, literature, song) and harness local grievances, not only to recruit, but – equally crucially – to win toleration in the broader community. She has spent significant time in the field, particularly in war-torn Yemen, where she has struck up strong relationships with tribes and follows the evolution of the ongoing war closely. Previously, she spent many years devoted to more theoretical questions of literary and linguistic development in Arabic cultures more broadly.

Mete Atatüre

Mete is Head of the Department of Physics at Cambridge. He obtained his PhD from Boston University working on multiparameter entanglement and quantum interference with entangled photons. He was a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zurich, and moved to the University of Cambridge to found the Quantum Optical Materials and Systems research group. His current research efforts include optical control of spin-photon interfaces in solids, development of nanoscale quantum sensors and investigations of novel quantum materials and devices. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Turkish Science Academy.

Cavendish Arts Science Committee

Andy Parker

Andy is a Professor of High Energy Physics at Cambridge University. His current research involves experiments to reveal new physics such as extra space dimensions, quantum-sized black holes, and supersymmetry. He is a founder of the ATLAS experiment for the Large Hadron Collider, and for six years he was the project leader for the ATLAS Inner Detector and a member of the Executive Board. His technical work has included the development of silicon detectors, fast electronics and large software systems, as well as data analysis and pattern recognition.

Jeremy Baumberg

Jeremy is Professor of Nanophotonics at Cambridge, and a leader in nanoscience and nanotechnology, working for much of his career at the interface between academia and industry. He is interested in constructing nano-materials with unusual interactions with light, especially ones that can be fabricated on a large scale which can lead to practical use. Jeremy has developed a range of unusual nanophotonics including kilometre-scale polymer opals, and explores what happens when light is confined to nanometer volumes or below, for probing single molecules and reactions. Jeremy is author of 'The Secret Life of Science: How It Really Works and Why It Matters.'

Sarah Bohndiek

Sarah is Professor of Biomedical Physics and a Group Leader at the University of Cambridge, where she is jointly appointed in the Department of Physics and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. Sarah’s research interests are in the development of novel imaging approaches to understand the role of the tumour microenvironment in cancer progression. She is also active in translating her findings into clinical trials and was recently awarded the CRUK Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize and SPIE Early Career Achievement Award in recognition of her interdisciplinary research innovation. Sarah takes an active role in teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists. She has acted as an ambassador for public engagement and interdisciplinary research training throughout her career and has received the MSCA Award for Nurturing Research Talent.

Diana Fusco

Diana Fusco is a Lecturer at the Department of Physics, University of Cambridge and research group leader investigating how evolution shapes the interactions at the molecular and single-cell scale to give rise to collective behaviors at the population scale, to understand the fundamental principles that link these phenomena. Her interest in biology started as a physics undergrad studying topological properties of the transcriptional network in budding yeast. After that, she was hooked and moved to soft matter and protein self-assembly for her PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Charbonneau at Duke. Unsatisfied with addressing questions exclusively on the computational side, she embarked onto a hybrid postdoc in Dr. Hallatschek lab at UC Berkeley, where she studied the evolutionary consequences of spatial range expansion combining microbiology and mathematical modeling.

Didier Queloz

Didier is Professor of Astrophysics at the Cavendish Laboratory and Geneva University. He is at the origin of the exoplanet revolution in astrophysics. Until recently, the Solar System has provided us with the only basis for our knowledge of planets and life in the universe. In 1995, he dramatically changed this with a discovery, made with Michel Mayor, of the first giant planet outside the solar system. This discovery spawned a real revolution in astronomy both in terms of new instrumentation and understanding of planet formation and evolution. At Cambridge, he is leading a comprehensive research program to understand the formation, structure, and habitability of exoplanets in the Universe as well as to promote and share this work with the public. In 2019, Didier jointly won the Nobel Prize for Physics along with Professor James Peebles and Professor Michel Mayor for their pioneering advances in physical cosmology.

 

Advisory

 

Rana Begum Artist
Monica Bello Head of Arts, Arts at CERN
Aria Dean Artist, and Curator at Large, Rhizome
Pamela Davis Kivelson Artist, and Adjunct Lecturer, Design Program, Stanford University
Emma Enderby Chief Curator, Haus der Kunst
Melissa Franklin Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University
Johnny Golding Professor of Philosophy & Fine Art, Royal College of Art
Ulyana Gumeniuk Artist
Greg Hilty Director, Lisson Gallery
Caroline Jones Professor in the History, Theory, and Criticism section, Department of Architecture, MIT
Jean Khalfa Senior Lecturer in French Studies, Cambridge
Fram Kitagawa Chairman, Art Front Gallery
Clare Lilley Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Wayne McGregor Artist, Studio Wayne McGregor
Haroon Mirza Artist, HRM199
Christian Rauch Founder/Director, STATE, Berlin
Martin Rees Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, Cambridge
Amanprit Sandhu Freelance Curator
Tomás Saraceno Artist
Nicola Triscott Director, FACT

Reading list

Robert B Laughlin, A Different Universe

Robert B Laughlin and David Pines, Theory of Everything

Vandana Shiva, various lectures and texts  

Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being  

Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind 

Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?

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