Imagining the Brain, Engaging the Body: Designing Visitor Engagement in Science Exhibition Experiments with Art

Anja Johansen


Science museums have increasingly experimented with bringing art into their exhibitions to attract and engage visitors. While the prevalence and popularity of such experiments is growing, research on the rationales for collaboration and their outcomes, as well as the challenges involved, remains scarce. This paper analyzes and discusses how art is used as part of engaging visitors in two contrasting exhibitions about the brain and neuroscience: one using art as illustration of ready-made science, the other inviting artists as co-curators in evoking a feeling of science in the making. Drawing on models of public engagement and art-science collaboration, it discusses how notions of science communication and visitor engagement are imagined and enacted in the two exhibitions, and how they relate to different ‘logics’, or rationales, of interdisciplinary collaboration.


exhibition experiment; science communication; public engagement; art-science; visitor engagement

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Copyright (c) 2022 Anja Johansen

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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