Last month Jane Philbrick and Kolbjörn Tunström organised a very inspirational seminar at Valand School of Fine Arts, Göteborg. It was part of a course they held about collaboration between art and science.

Please join us for a range of guests speakers of diverse professions — who discuss their methodologies, inspirations, toward discovering and illuminating parallels and variations.

I will report here part of my impressions, observations and what seemed interesting in all of these great people’s presentations, hoping it will be of any value!

The first speaker was a senior designer at Volvo cars. This talk consisted in a very enthusiastic person of Mexican origins, who went in lengths about how a car is to be thought of. The focus was on how the cars carry human values, and the image of its owner. Unfortunately, I arrived at the end of this presentation; the installation had a sonic larsen and the powerpoint presentation was a little sabotaged by technical issues.

All in all, I didn’t get so much but I remember the energy, and had the chance to meet the designer in person later on. He was very passionate about pushing the boudaries of conceiving cars with design thinking, however for some reason I can imagine this kind of thinking could be dangerous business wise, and will need a lot of intelligence to fit into an accepted business model.

Next up, came Martic Cederwall, a professor of Fundamental Physics, specialised in String Theory. I could relate to the topic and contents of the talk, however my notions of physics are quite far away :) He most notably mentioned that his work is guided by a study of past works, and identifying patterns in what has already proved to be great concepts.

The most interesting, according to him, is the concept of symmetry. This idea guided a good number of discoveries in the field of physics, and helped him devise some of his problem solving methods.  I would have loved to hear more about the role music plays in his thinking, as he mentioned, but time ran out quick and Jane had to intervene to allow the next speaker up.

The following presentation was with an extremely experienced surgeon who practices in the area of Göteborg. She had a very busy career, studying a lot of different specialties (That even included a collaboration with Volvo relative to car accidents and human senses). She mentioned that her inspiration as surgeon comes from thinking what she can do for the patient, for this specific person. It sounds very noble, positive and reassuring to me, especially as the patient’s point of view might be exactly opposite [at least pre-drugs].

This is what keeps her focused on the highly demanding activity of “40 years holding the knife “. She also stressed the importance of collaboration in her work, and illustrated this by showing how many persons assist the surgeon during an operation. In the picture she showed, there were about 6 people to make sure the operation is successful… This is where also I guess the positive inspiration is so relevant, in order to nurture focus and calm in the whole team.