Creating a Climate for Change through Art & Science

Special lecture series exploring the synergies between art and science as a way to communicate environmental issues and planetary health while inspiring change and stimulating action will be offered this summer.

In conjunction with two current exhibitions at Highfield, SEAChange: Meditations on Sustainability and Turn the Tide: Courtney Mattison, participating artists and scientists will discuss a range of topics, including ocean acidification and coral bleaching, biofuels and the Blue Economy, mapping as an artform and a communication tool, methane munching microbes, and art as means to amplify science and transform how we learn about the world.

Lecture series is in collaboration with the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Woodwell Climate Research Center. Sponsored by the Woods Hole Foundation and the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation.

Due to recent changes in the CDC guidelines, these presentation will be held outside under the tent.


July 15 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Courtney Mattison
Uniting Art and Science to Conserve Our Changing Seas

Courtney is an internationally recognized artist who hand-crafts intricately detailed ceramic sculptural works inspired by the fragile beauty of coral reefs and the human-caused threats they face. Her work raises awareness for the protection of our blue planet, urging policy makers and the public to conserve our vital and changing seas. In this talk, Mattison tells the story of how she arrived at this intersection of art and science, creating monumental artwork for projects around the world aimed at inspiring hope, action, and community engagement!

July 28 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Emil Ruff, MBL
Microbes Munch Methane: how microbes reduce methane emissions from the oceans

Microorganisms play a vital role in the Earth’s carbon cycle. They can be a source or a sink of the greenhouse gas methane. In this presentation we will dive to the murky depths of the ocean and visit otherworldly landscapes that harbor microorganisms eating methane. Together these methane munchers remove millions of tons of methane from the world oceans, methane which otherwise may enter the atmosphere and accelerate climate change.

August 11 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Loretta Roberson, MBL & Scott Lindell, WHOI
Farming Seaweed and Corals for a Better Tomorrow!

Loretta Roberson and Scott Lindell have blue thumbs! These aquaculture pioneers are growing marine life that can fuel the blue economy and offer new model organisms for advancing ecological and biomedical science.
Loretta Roberson, Ph.D., Associate Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, is interested in how organisms respond to human impacts on coastal marine systems as well as ways to help mitigate or reduce those impacts. 
Scott Lindell, a Research Specialist in marine farming at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is an Aquaculture Pioneer! He has dedicated the last 19 years to research and development of shellfish and seaweed farming. 

August 25 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Gregory Fiske, Woodwell
What’s In a Map? (Or How Maps Tell Stories and Shape Our Worldview)

Join Greg Fiske, a senior geospatial analyst and chief cartographer at Woodwell Climate Research Center, for an exploration of commonly used tools and techniques for making beautiful maps, as well as common challenges, success stories, and failures, faced over 20 years of making maps for Woods Hole scientists. Maps can distill a story out of complex information and spark conversation. No map is the perfect truth–but ideally a good map is a functional blend of art and science which invites a second look. A well-design map also has the ability to bring people around a table, greasing the wheels of communication and collaboration!

September 8 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Konrad Hughen, Justin Brice & Heather Goldstone
Our Warming Planet Needs Both Art and Science Right Now!

To date, human activities have caused approximately 1°C of global warming since the Industrial Revolution; with warming projected to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if current activities continue. Coral reefs are especially vulnerable, expected to suffer a 70-90  percent loss at 1.5°C and much worse as temperatures rise higher. Join WHOI coral reef expert Konrad Hughen & Woodwell Climate Research Center Artist in Residence Justin Brice to discuss how art and science can synergize to convince the world of all we stand to lose if we don’t reverse climate change and soon. Emcee and moderator: Heather Goldstone, Chief Communications Officer, Woodwell Climate

Turn the Tide: Courtney Mattison is a collaboration between Highfield Hall & Gardens and the Marine Biological Laboratory.  The exhibition is sponsored by the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation, The Martha’s Vineyard Bank Charitable Foundation, and the Woods Hole Foundation.