Winds of Change: Bridging Art and Science

Apr 13, 2018

Mark your calendars.

A professor renowned for bridging art and science will address a UC Davis Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology seminar on April 25 in Meyer Hall, UC Davis campus.

Entomologist/artist Diane Ullman of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will speak on “Winds of Change: Bridging Art and Science”  from 3:45 to 5 p.m. in the Room 1138, also known as "The Foster Room."

Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, will describe the building blocks, innovations and outcomes of the program that she and nationally known ceramicist Donna Billick of Davis formed in 2006.

Ullman and Billick created the art/science fusion concept in 1997 with the introduction of an undergraduate course, “Art, Science and the World of Insects,” that became the centerpiece and inspiration for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.

Since then, the program “has been a hot bed of innovation, bridging art and science with diverse undergraduate courses, exhibitions, performances and colloquia with collaboration among design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professors artists and UC Davis students,” Ullman related.

One of the their most noted works is Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural in the Ruth Storer Gardens, UC Davis Arboretum, off Garrod Drive. Handcrafted by UC Davis staff, faculty and community members, under the umbrella of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, it features interlocking tiles showing the diversity of plants and insects in California. The 140 ceramic tiles depict plants and insects. The mosaic mural drew more than 300,000 visitors when it was displayed in the summer of 2007 in the U.S. Botanic Garden on the Capitol Mall, Washington, D.C.

Ullman, both a noted entomologist and a talented artist, will relate how the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program was developed, why the connections between art and science can be transformational to teaching in both formal and informal settings, and how  community inspirations and educational infrastructure are needed to succeed. “As the winds of change moved across the landscape, bridges between visual and performing arts, design, science and technology were built and programs around this concept have arisen worldwide,” Ullman noted.

The settings and circumstances growing from this intellectual borderland yielded many unexpected outcomes that Ullman will share in her presentation.

Ullman, who holds a bachelor's degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1991, after serving on the faculty of the University of Hawaii.

She chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 2004 to 2005, and then served as associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, from 2005 to 2014.

Ullman focuses her research on insect/virus/plant interactions and the development of management strategies for insect-transmitted plant pathogens. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in entomology and the Science and Society Program.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Entomological Society of America, the UC Davis professor received the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Entomological Society of America and the UC Davis Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community in 2007.