Perceptions of Promise: Biotechnology, Society and Art

TERM: October 2010 - September 2013

AGENCY: The Stem Cell Network 

PROJECT LEADERS: Professor Sean Caulfield (U of A), Professor Liz Ingram (U of A); Professor Timothy Caulfield (U of A) 


Perceptions of Promise: Biotechnology, Society and Art is an interdisciplinary and collaborative project that brought together a group of internationally recognized artists and social commentators (e.g. philosophers, sociologists, legal scholars, scientists) to explore the complex legal, ethical and social issues associated with advancements in life science technologies, with a particular focus on stem cell research. The project resulted in multiple outputs including a major art exhibition, which was exhibited in galleries both within and outside of Canada (Calgary 2011, New York 2011, Hamilton 2012, Edmonton, 2012/2013) a book featuring critical essays and reproductions of images from the exhibition, public panels featuring project participants and guest speakers, the administration of questionnaires exploring public perceptions of popular representations of science (particularly stem cell research) to gallery viewers observing the exhibition, the production of artists’ handbooks, as well as additional publications (e.g. articles, commentaries), among others. Perceptions of Promise unique and varied translational activities have facilitated increased awareness and understanding of the complex ethical, legal and social issues that characterize stem cell research, in addition to the dynamic relationship that exists between biomedical research, popular culture, artistic practice and public policy debate.