What we do
Synergy is a program that creates partnerships between artists and research scientists. With an emphasis on communication and collaboration, Synergy aims to provide meaningful creative and intellectual experiences for both the general public and for participating artists and scientists. We select and match artists and scientists to work together – to formulate a shared voice. The result is a group exhibition that invites the public to engage with this unique collision of art and science.
Synergy was founded in early 2012 in affiliation with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
For all of their apparent differences, artists and scientists share a fundamental goal: to explore the edges of human knowledge and experience. Through our artist/scientist collaborations, we aim to reveal how both creative and analytic thought are present across all disciplines, and to demonstrate how crucial they are to a fuller understanding of our world.
Contemporary science is so complex that it is often difficult to communicate to the very people it is intended to impact – the general public. It is becoming increasingly important, however, for members of society to not only recognize the implications of scientific results, but also to understand how scientists arrive at those results. This understanding influences personal and policy decisions that have ramifications for the general wellbeing of society.
Art can be a particularly appropriate way to communicate big ideas in an engaging and intuitive manner, while simultaneously promoting discussion and creative thinking. We strive to harness this artistic potential in the realm of science, sharing scientific concepts, results, and methodologies with the public in a less-technical, more approachable way. The resulting work provides a commentary on the multifaceted nature of both scientific research and artistic expression, as well as the broader implications that these have for humanity as a whole.
Whitney Bernstein, Ph.D.
Executive Director and Founder
Whitney Bernstein completed her Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography within the MIT/WHOI Joint Program researching coral reefs and how they respond to changes in their environment. She is currently a Knauss Marine Policy Legislative Fellow in Washington D.C. She believes science is playing an ever greater role in society and therefore wishes to engage others in scientific exploration. In producing Synergy, she seeks to generate creative collisions between artists and scientists. The goal of this merger is to harness diverse expertise and perspectives in order to communicate expansive scientific ideas in fresh and compelling ways. View More >
Lizzie Kripke is currently enrolled in the Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program, receiving a degree in Neuroscience from Brown University as well as a degree in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. At the most fundamental level, she is motivated by a pursuit to better understand, describe, and respect nature. She is interested in new methods of science communication and education, and, in particular, fostering the practice of a mutually beneficial relationship between artists and scientists.
Most recently, Lizzie was a Maharam STEAM Fellow in Applied Art and Design at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. She recognizes a huge potential for cross-illumination of the disciplines of art and science and believes that collaborative efforts like Synergy can provide necessary, effective platforms for the realization of a broader societal impact of scientific research.