The utility of traditional cultural art forms to communicate scientific advancements
Failed modern public health campaigns and the phenomenon of climate change denial are two of the many manifestations of an ineffective contemporary science communication model. Clearly, a drastic change in the model must be implemented to better facilitate communication between scientists and the public. In this literature review, I examine instances of art communicating science to study emerging themes. I performed a basic keyword search in three journals: Science Communication, The International Journal of Science Education, and Leonardo, and included all instances of any traditional art form from any culture communicating science in the last 15 years. I found evidence that a culture’s traditional art forms can communicate science in a way that increases both public engagement with science, and public perception of science and scientists. Art provides a better communication model because it is culturally-relevant and personal, it is grounded in the traditional backgrounds of the viewer, and it provides information in a way that allows the individual to take ownership of the information by ‘filling in the gaps’ with imaginative narrative. Fundamentally, art can achieve these goals because new information can be easily assimilated to pre-existing mental models surrounding an individual’s artistic and cultural background as it appeals to the schemata of the viewers. Future collaboration between artists and scientists is necessary to continue to advance the field, in order to bridge the gap between scientists and the public.