The Fine Art programme at Newcastle University works with numerous partners in other disciplines across the university and externally. This reflects the diversity of the ways contemporary artists work – often in collaboration with other professionals and using a wide range of media and working practices. Embedded within the Fine Art curriculum is LifeWorkArt, a professional development programme that engages students in live projects throughout their degree and works with them after graduation.

Valence is a project that offers immense scope for these ways of working. Originally conceived as a residency for one or two students the proposals were so interesting and offered such a range of approaches to scientists and artists working together that we eventually set up six residencies.

With the Valence exhibition and symposium we are at an interesting and exciting point of reflection where we take the work into the public arena during Mitochondrial Awareness Week 2017. What kinds of response will we get from other artists, scientists, medics, patients and the public generally? What kinds of discussion will this project stimulate? How will this impact on the next phase of the project? These are the kinds of question that drive artistic practice and scientific research.

Involvement in projects like Valence where there are real questions that put us in dialogue with people outside our own discipline is a key ethos of Fine Art at Newcastle.