The Imaging CoE engaged the public with messages conveying the impact, importance, and excitement of its science
Through our flagship program, the Monash Sensory Science initiative, we invited people of all ages and abilities to learn about imaging and immunology – and to be inspired by the wonders of science. Monash Sensory Science brings the wonder of biomedicine to low vision, blind and diverse exhibition audiences using multi-sensory artform, addressing significant gaps in the accessibility and appreciation of both art and science for those with visual and other disabilities. Operating at the intersection between art, science and blindness, the exhibitions incorporate interactive biology-inspired sculptures with touch, sound, smell and technology.
MAKING SCIENCE ACCESSIBLE
In 2017, Imaging CoE Chief Investigator Professor Jamie Rossjohn engaged the National Disability Network and Vision Australia to initiate a disability inclusion program. With the support of the Imaging CoE, he employed Artist-in-Residence, Dr Erica Tandori in a project capacity; together they set up the Monash Sensory Science initiative. Over the last three years, Dr Tandori has worked closely within the Rossjohn Lab and members of the Imaging
CoE to produce seven exhibitions across the country as well as a number of virtual experiences. The exhibitions included a range of tactile models, sound, olfactory, large print and braille format posters, and multi-sensory sculptures. They allowed the low vision audience to learn about the science that advances the knowledge of the immune system and how it functions.
Top: Dr Erica Tandori, artist-in-residence in the Rossjohn lab.
Bottom: HIV model, handmade by Dr Erica Tandori.
Imaging CoE scientists, students and volunteers involved in the outreach program have learned first-hand how important it is to communicate science in a way that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. The Monash Sensory Science program is an important legacy of the Imaging CoE and has enormous potential to grow. We hope to expand our program both nationally and internationally.
Utilising artificial intelligence and innovative technologies is the next step in achieving heightened accessibility for people with low vision, blindness, and others in our community who require different pathways to knowledge.
As a next step, the Monash Sensory Science team plans to produce a series of 10 multisensory science books that leverage a range of smart technology by incorporating embedded computing, touch-based sensors and Bluetooth® networking suitable for hearing aid connection. The books will explore the coalface of microbiological discovery including microbes, vaccines, viruses, anti-cancer immunotherapy, autoimmunity, B cells and antibodies, T cell immunity and innate immunity.