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13th March, 2018

Liverpool School of Art & Design will host its first art-science showcase after being awarded prestigious Leonardo LASER status


Liverpool School of Art & Design have been awarded the prestigious Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) talk status by the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, which brings together art and science for a public audience.

The university will now join London in becoming a host and partner organisations in France, Switzerland, Germany, Iran, Brazil, Canada and USA.

Director of Liverpool School of Art & Design Professor Caroline Wilkinson said:

“This is great news for LJMU, Liverpool and the North West – it will not only give us a platform to host some of the most creative practitioners in art, science and technology for our students, but also the wider public.
“LASER is prestigious because it encourages people working in these fields across the world to push the boundaries of possibility, share ideas, collaborate on cross-disciplinary research and
provide attractive solutions in health, science and technology for the benefit of the public, while promoting ethical debate.”

The first LASER event themed ‘Faces and Identity’ focused on changing perceptions and identities of the human face. Gina Czarnecki and John Hunt will be discussing Heirloom a project, which uses skin cells to grow 3D faces. Their presentation titled ‘Taking Heirloom Forward’ looked at the potential applications for these skins whether that is to assist burns victims or for cosmetic purposes – in theory replacing your face with a younger version. Gina said:

“John and I want to develop Heirloom to grow layers of cells on anatomically correct structures to fit perfectly the shape of subject’s face.

“We intend to conduct further work live in a public space, so it can be viewed as both science and art; and primarily to raise ethical questions by presenting aspects of future regenerative therapies to the public directly.”

Professor Caroline Wilkinson discussed ‘Cognitive bias and forensic art’, which raises questions relating to the depiction of facial identity in forensic and archaeological cases based on our preconceived ideas about history, ethnicity and migration. Caroline has also previously worked to assist police in reconstructing the faces of victims to support investigations; as well as a collaborative science research project looking into the prevention of child trafficking by using juvenile face identification and age progression.

Professor Partha Vaiude who is the managing director and faculty lead for Surgical-Art based in Hope Street presented ‘An Artistic Exploration of Facial Topography in Surgical Practice’, which focuses on embedding artistic principles into surgical training alongside the more standard surgical skills training. He said:

“The face is undeniably the most complex anatomical landscape, designed for higher order function, interaction and identity.
“It is my belief that for facial reconstruction, anatomical knowledge and surgical dexterity alone fall short.
“Planning a reconstruction on this unique topography requires an artistic perspective, gained through multi-disciplinary training to achieve a harmonious and bespoke result.”

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