Research Background: StellrScope, a science artwork exhibition for the Centenary of Canberra, built on a story connecting the Canberra region to Australia’s major crop industry and research. It celebrated 100 years of wheat innovation from the days of William Farrer through to the present day. Gates-Stuart coined the term StellrScope in translating complex science for non-scientists through a comprehensive visual interpretation. The process involved responding to the direction of ideas, content building, research and an aesthetic understanding and construct for creating the artwork.
Research Contribution: StellrScope linked Canberra’s history and sense of place in terms of early century wheat experimentalist and scientist, William Farrer, who lived in the sounding region at his homestead and laboratory at Lambrigg. The legacy of Farrer’s achievement was celebrated along with the story of wheat research and innovation at the CSIRO, profiling its research and scientists based in the Australian Capital Territory. It drew on the local archives and manuscripts at the National Library of Australia and resources at the National Film and Sound Archive. A broader investigation included accessing the laboratories and research plant fields of the CSIRO Discovery Centre and the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Facility. As an interactive environment Stellrscope provided visitors the opportunity to fully engage with the work on many levels.
Research significance: A Centenary of Canberra Science Art Commission, Stellrscope was staged in Questacon, Australia’s premier science museum, and achieved a very high attendance with 18,000+. It received wide media coverage, including ABC Radio and online. Following the exhibition, the StellrScope Domes were installed at the CSIRO Discovery Centre. Other artworks, exhibited as ‘Hot Seeds’ at the CSIRO Discovery Centre were accepted into the ACT Legislative Assembly Collection.