In the last few years, Czech Arctic scientists operating mostly at the Czech Arctic Scientific Infrastructure in Svalbard – Josef Svoboda Station – have undertaken very productive research related to climate change and the impact of sea and land ice disappearance. They try to find the answer to questions concerning how the Arctic ecosystem responds to global warming and how global warming affects human activity. The results of their research can be used, for example, in the treatment and refinement of drinking and sewage water, the pharmaceutical industry and medicine, livestock nutrition including aquaculture and in the production of nutritional supplements for people.
However, even the most serious scientific results are usually not readily available to a non-professional audience. They do not often hold the attention of such a public for a very long time if they ever reach it. People must continually struggle with the overpressure of new or constantly recycled information coming to them from media, social networks and through the generally accelerated pace of life.
If science is interconnected with a cultural discipline, such as literature, art, music or theatre, its account can be enriched. A suitable cultural framework can bring new life to the results of scientific research.
Today’s widely used term is interdisciplinarity. The interconnection of science and culture on the basis of a common theme or interest can be very interesting. For example, researchers examine the patterns of ice movement and their environmental impact, the occurrence of microorganisms in the northernmost part of the world, etc. An artist dealing with the same subject may be interested in the symbolism of melting and ephemerality; he or she can defend the environment by artistic means and mediate a certain philosophical or metaphysical approach to this theme.
Through an artistic experience or dialogue with artists, fact-centered scientists focused on data collecting and cataloguing, can discover another legitimacy of their work, a kind of intangible encouragement, a sense of belonging to human emotions and desires. An artist, on the other hand, can learn many details about a given topic and find more associations and symbolism in them. He or she can also be inspired by the enthusiasm for revealing the unknown, by systematic and persistent approaches, conceptualism and erudition, which are, after all, common features of both scientists and artists.
There is a very effective way how to make exciting scientific information and results available to a non-professional public – organizing scientific-cultural festivals. Such fes- tivals are great opportunities for looking at the activities of both scientists and artists from different angles. Moreover, scientific-cultural events can increase media interest in scientific research and make science more visible and understandable to a broader audience.
It turns out that the presentation of scientific research through culture is not a purposeless scream to the darkness, but rather a very distinctive and innovative achievement as evidenced by the scientific-cultural festivals AT HOME IN SVALBARD 2018, ARCTIC FESTIVAL 2019 and ARCTIC FESTIVAL 2020–21.
For further information, please see the article Punk’s not dead, even at the Czech Arctic Scientific Station in Svalbard.