Experimental Responses: Climate Change, Science and Art

Spring 2020
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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Environmentalist Bill McKibben describes the effects of climate change as altering  “….the planet in such fundamental ways that it's not really the planet we thought we knew” ( Eaarth,  2010 )  It's a planet like the familiar Earth, but one undergoing rapid change, thanks largely to human influences on the environment.

Climate change is a new reality, and rather than asking how we got here, our program will examine the ways renewable energy and ecologically-informed visual art can be deployed to influence this new reality.  Using the lenses of science, we’ll examine the potential of solar and wind technologies we can adopt to mitigate and adapt to climate change. By engaging in printmaking, traditional and contemporary aesthetics, we’ll explore artistic visions and responses to climate change.  With a commitment to equity and inclusion, we’ll analyze the ways science, fine art, energy consumption, and climate change impact people differently depending on countries of origin, geographic regions, and socio-economic class.  

This program offers a general introduction to theory and practice in science and visual art with an emphasis on energy and climate change for students interested in any of these studies.  Learning activities will include physics labs, lectures, seminars, and studio printmaking (copper etching). Physics topics will be covered at the introductory, algebra-based college level.  Introductory etching requires no prior artistic experience or drawing skill, but does require the ability to learn precise technical processes that are similar to scientific experiments, and to work in a lively community studio alongside other learners.   

Students will develop skills in critical thinking, interdisciplinary problem-solving, hands-on experimentation, and experience some of the practices scientists and artists have in common. Readings/seminars will address climate change in the context of physics, energy systems, art appreciation, as well as systems of privilege and equitable practices.  Because the program emphasizes hands-on learning in labs and studios, students should anticipate about 35 – 40 hours of work each week including:  class meetings, lab work, studio work, and reading to prepare for lectures, labs, studios and seminars.


Spring 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (16): 30160
So (16): 30162

Academic details

Preparatory For

studio art, science, climate science, physics, education

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 B2105 - Workshop


Date Revision
2019-12-06 This program is now open to all levels (was freshman only)