Invitation to participate in art exhibition

Observations: the interface of art and science
Observations art exhibition - blue and yellow painting
Peter van Bergeijk

The curators of the 'Observations' art exhibition taking place at the International Institute of Social Studies in October 2024, invite submissions exploring the role of observations in visual arts and social sciences.

About 'Observations'

'Observations' invites the audience to consider an expanded way, beyond narratives and numbers, of exploring and understanding the world. 

Observation is a fundamental pillar of both art and science, a gateway to understanding the uncertain world around us. In both fields, observation transcends mere seeing; it is an iterative process of discovery, interpretation and insight that enriches our understanding of ourselves and the universe we inhabit. 

Through keen observation, artists and scientists alike illuminate the beauty, complexity and interconnectedness of our existence. Observation fosters curiosity, critical thinking and a deeper, never completed and always changing understanding of the world in which we live.

The exhibition will bring together pieces by international professional artists who are also working as professional researchers on development issues. The work of these strange birds, whether as artists or scientists, evokes new perspectives on both fields, strengthening them in unexpected ways. 

How to submit

  1. We invite international professional artists who are also working as professional researchers on development issues to submit work that shows your view, your interpretation on observation. 
  2. We are looking for diverse art work such as lithography, silk-screening, photography, photograms, wooden sculptures and ceramics. 
  3. We also invite researchers to submit examples of the results of arts based methods in research that can be displayed safely and in line with research ethics.
  4. An artist can submit 6 artworks at most. 
  5. All artworks shall be ready for presentation (e.g. artworks cannot be accepted on paper).
  6. Artists shall send pictures of the artworks they would like to submit no later than 1 June 2024 to along with the following information: 
    • A biography of the artist and social scientist (max 200 words in English)
    • Artwork(s) title, dimensions, material 
    • A statement on the role of observation in arts and sciences (max 250 words in English)

Accepted artworks will be included in the catalogue and three-month exhibition at the International Institute of Social Studies.

The exhibition opening will form part of the valedictory lecture by Professor Peter van Bergeijk 'In praise of observations' and of launch of On the inaccuracies of economic observations: How we could and should do better. Artists can also participate in a participatory art research clinic with experiential treatment.

About the curators

The art exhibition 'Observations' is organized at the International Institute of Social Studies and curated by Professor Peter A.G. van Bergeijk (ISS) and Dr Pauline Oosterhoff (Institute of Development Studies, UK). 

Peter and Pauline both have careers as researchers in development studies and as professional visual artists. Pauline is a medical anthropologist and political scientist who produces films, multi-media installations and rituals around the themes of public secrets, invasive species and the social lives of material things. Peter is an economist who creates lithography exploring the layered connections between mind and matter and the role of serendipity in making artful sense. 

More information

For any enquiries, please contact the curators at 

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