Illustration as a tool for engagement
03 Feb 2019



Helen Towrie, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)



Parallel Session 4: Unconventional Outreach - ​STEM and Art
Tuesday 9 April 14:45 - 16:3​0​​​​

How do you engage with the non-science-interested public is one of the greatest challenges science communicators face. As an illustrator, I believe that art, in its many forms, is a useful tool to communicate complex ideas to the public.

Whether they are aware of it or not, many science communicators already use art of some sort as a tool to help engage their audiences. However, in my talk I would like to help bring art into the conscious mind of science communicators by making them aware of the variety of ways art (particularly illustration) can be utilised, and the full potential of its impact.

I would like to promote a closer relationship between art and science communication by showing examples of my own art, my colleagues’ and some inspirational artists works, dissecting what makes a successful piece of illustration, starting with defining what illustration actually is. With examples, I will discuss the variety of applications illustration can be used for, including the valuable use of it as a tool to help scientists communicate their work more successfully – something that could be vital for budget proposals – and some practical tips based on my experience.

Finally, I would like to use examples of general illustrative pieces that I have found inspirational to portray how powerful art can stay in your memory years down the line, even having the scope to shape who you are – reinforcing my point that art is a fantastic tool for all types of engagement.

Contact: Fletcher, Sara (STFC,RAL,ISIS)