Policy Horizon’s Canada + SynBio Canada

Biodigital Convergense Webinar Series
Session 13: The Future of Biodesign, Bio-Art, and Bio-Fashion
Written by: Ashley Hemmings

On February 18, 2021 Policy Horizon’s Canada and SynBio Canada presented a panel discussion called The Future of Biodesign, Bio-Art, and Bio-Fashion. The discussion was moderated by Veena Vijayakumar and featured panelists Dr. Karen Hogan, William Myers, and INCUBATOR Art Lab director Dr. Jennifer Willet. During this conversation, panelists considered biodesign and bioart from their diverse perspectives, tackling questions like: Who has access to biodesign media and resources? What are the ethics of working collaboratively across species? Who is generating biotech knowledge? And how can researchers in biodesign work against the sensationalism of biotechnology in pop-culture?


During these conversations the panelists spoke about the need to diversify the fields of biodesign and bioart, and the need to build strategies for making these fields more accessible to wider audiences. They spoke about the importance of education and educational institutions, but also the difficulties of working cross-disciplinarily within these siloed academic settings. As an exciting conclusion to the session each panelist spoke about a bioart exhibition or project that inspired them or made them hopeful for the future, citing the work of bioartists Marta de Menezes, Orkan Telhan and Charlotte Jarvis.


The entire session was recorded and will be available in the near future on the Policy Horizon Canada website here: https://horizons.gc.ca/en/biodigital-webinar-series/

About the panelists:
Veena Vijayakumar - Program Manager of Biodesign Challenge
Dr. Karen Hogan - CEO and Cofounder at Biorealize, Inc
William Myers - curator, writer (Biodesign published in 2018, Bio Art: Altered Realities published in 2015), and teacher based in Amsterdam.
Dr. Jennifer Willet - Director of INCUBATOR Art Lab and a Canada Research Chair in Art, Science and Ecology at the University of Windsor.

Image Credit:
1) Policy Horizon’s Canada and SynBio Canada, 2021.
2) Domenica Mediati, Screenshot of Policy Horizon’s Canada and SynBio Canada's webinar The Future of Biodesign, Bio-Art, and Bio-Fashion, 2021.