Daksha Patel

I am a Manchester based artist researcher whose practice encompasses drawing, printmaking, animation and installation. My work engages with mapping and visualisation technologies. Residencies and research within scientific institutions regularly inform my practice. They include Life Science at University of Dundee (2018/9), Applied Mathematics at University of Bristol (2019), Neuroscience and Imaging Science at the University of Manchester (2016) and The Christie Hospital (2010). I’m intrigued by what remains immeasurable, illusive and unseen, despite our increasing capacities to visualise and gather data about the world around us.

The process of drawing – with its simplicity, immediacy and directness – remains at the heart of my practice. I experiment with drawing materials that are unstable and fugitive such as oil, natural pigments and clay, as well as working with graphite on paper. I’m interested in exploring what a drawing can reveal, that a scientific visualisation cannot.

This blog documents my artist residency at King's College London, in collaboration with Dr. David Hay in the academic year 2019/20. During my time at King's I will be based in the anatomy laboratories and draw inspiration from my observations of the methods, processes and materials taking place around me. The Life Science museum with its wonderful collections will also inform my work. 

David Hay


I am a biologist and educational researcher. My current research work explores the ways scientists develop body-sense and feeling as well as knowledge of their objects of inquiry. I am particularly concerned that while the 'knowledge rich curriculum' of science education develops people who can talk and argue scientific cause, it neglects the silent kinaesthetic and affective sides of science. Sides which turn out to matter very much in making new discovery. Because of that my current research work aims to bring attention to the ways non-human things - like solvents, emulsions and creams in chemistry or cells and molecules, and animals or plants in bioscience - cultivate our human sensitivities: body, mind and felling. In particular my recent ethnography of student laboratory work shows that such non-human things themselves can cultivate the care, the patience and attention which are human virtues. This just happens - with attention - because, for example, waiting for an emulsion product to perform its type - to separate or to crack, or to remain a mixture - the student scientist automatically develops care extending beyond their own self-interest. Because of this, my work is relevant to education in this age of climate crisis - when what is needed - desperately - is the cultivation of commitments to non-human things on non-human terms.


Some of my previous research has explored the relationships between scientists, their scientific objects, and their drawing/observation work. That has used the methods and approaches of Science Studies and of Bruno Latour, particularly. Through this current project, shared with Artist, Daksha Patel, I am hoping to collect new insights into science/art collaboration in the course of science teaching. My aim is to avoid either putting science into art or vice versa, art into science. My opinion is this only waters down each one. Instead I hope to better see the ways in which both art and science practices occur independently by 'mobilising reference' (Latour’s term). And in understanding this, perhaps, develop novel pedagogy - brining new attention to the terms of human and non-human planetary being.

Laboratory [Drawing] Life is a collaboration between King's College London's Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and Dr. David Hay,

brokered and supported by the Culture team at King's.

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