Student work

Here we will feature work by our Science Communication course students, and our Master’s and PhD students.


SCIS 412 Contemporary Issues in Science, Environment and Technology

As part of their assessment for SCIS 412, our students write blogs.

In Guided Collaboration: Vulnerability in Science, Naomi Puketapu-Waite describes previous efforts to establish collaborations between New Zealand science and Mātauranga Māori. Naomi suggests an alternative approach to creating genuine relationships between Māori and scientists. “It is through the acts of listening, participating, power sharing, learning, acknowledging, and allowing oneself to be vulnerable in this interface that good science can evolve.”

In Fingerprints on the Microscope Lens: Working Towards a Decolonized Science, Casey Spearin critically examines how we can practice science while respectfully bringing together different worldviews to help us understand our world.

In When Creativity Gets Serious, Sarah Wilkins discusses how bringing art to science, and science to art, can foster creativity in understanding our world and in approaches to issues.

Click here to read more about SCIS 412.


Master of Science in Society student Casey Spearin’s work in the Forest & Bird journal

Casey has been volunteering at Forest and Bird, helping with a project to digitise their journals from as far back as 1924. Casey writes about the “Historical Treasures” in these journals and the challenges with digitising the content in the Spring 2019 Issue.


SCIS 414 Science and Humanities

In SCIS 414 Science and Humanities, our students produce creative works. Here we feature several works from our 2019 students. Click here to read more about SCIS 414.

Kelly Body – Gulliver’s Journey

Work by Kelly Body. Painting of a Kākāpõ with paint and brushes in the foreground on a table.

This artwork is a representation of the story of the kākāpō and their journey to how they became a critically endangered species brought back from the brink of extinction. The style represents how their survival has been intertwined with colonisation, introduced pests and now, intense management.

The ships and waka represent both the people that came to Aotearoa and the animals they brought with them. A stoat, rat and deer surround the kākāpō in this painting, interlinked with its survival. As we move our eyes down the bottom of the painting, we can see the technology used in kākāpō management. Sperm carrying drones, planes, antennae and satellites, and DNA filled with binary code, a syringe to represent artificial insemination and the saxophone (give it a Google).

However, this technology is useless without the splashes of red. This represents the rimu berries that trigger kākāpō breeding. If the rimu do not mast, then kākāpō will not breed. There are so many living and non-living things that play a role in kākāpō survival,

Russyl Gilling – We Are The Same

Work by Russyl Gilling

I produced this piece to show that race is a social construct. The writing is the sentence “we are the same” written in genetic code, reinforcing the idea that there is no such thing as biological race and the differences seen are all genetic variation between people. The different people have different skin tones to represent the range of ethnicities.

Abi Hart – Self Portrait

Work by Abi Hart

My work is an edited photograph comprising 24 panels depicting fragments of my own personal data, my raw DNA dataset, which (apparently) comprise how I exist in the physical sense, but also how I exist in the form of data. Each panel depicts data from a single chromosome. In my preparation for this project, I ambitiously (or naively) wanted to use the totality of my dataset until I discovered it totalled 14,030 pages. This speaks rather poignantly to the issue of the limitations of human consciousness in terms of our ability to process data and the way in which the machine apprehends the world in a way that does not correspond to human senses and understanding.

Liz Hibbs – Magazine Covers

These magazine covers represent two opposing expressions of cultural stereotypes, ‘passive females and heroic males’; mainstream norms that have influenced scientific understanding of fertilisation and conception. Immersed in their own cultural context, scientists have traditionally ascribed stereotypical roles to the ‘personalities’ of gametes, constructing the facts in metaphorical, cultural terms which perpetuate and reinforce the problematic cultural construct that it is one gender’s role to act, and the other’s to be acted upon.

Emma ten Have

work by Emma ten Have

This project depicts some of the ways plastic in the Pacific is affecting its’ inhabitants, using traditional scientific Illustration. This style of drawing is a (somewhat outdated) form of Science Communication, usually exhibiting plants and animals that are considered to be very ‘Natural’. This medium was chosen for the impact of juxtaposition between an old form of communication and a very contemporary issue, as well as between this ‘natural’ format and a very ‘unnatural’ subject.

Sarah Wilkins – The Naturocene

The Naturocene is an interactive mural for an urban space.

Work by Sarah Wilkins

The Naturocene presents a world of ‘tentacular’ networks; an entanglement of humans, nature and technology. By suggesting we stay with the ‘trouble’, this living artwork gradually mutates to eventually obliterate the traces of human involvement.

The mural is composed of a series of intertwined biological symbols, circuit board components and botanical elements, evoking the interconnectivity of humanity, nature and technology. The mural was designed for the tower walls of the Pukehinau council flats at 320 Willis Street.

Work by Sarah Wilkins

Attached to the mural wall are small pots, containing seedlings of native vines, creepers and lichens. Over time the plants will grow, eventually covering the wall entirely. Nature will replace the imagined “web of relatedness” with an urban ecosystem, housing “creatures of all kinds”. It will provide a vertical green space, inhabited by birds and insects, co-exisiting with the human inhabitants of the surrounding flats, and in turn improving their quality of life.

Click here to see an animated growth sequence.


War and Peas–Zoe Heine

One of our Master’s students, Zoë Heine, wrote a blog on War and Peas: Women, gardens and World War Two for The Garden History Research Foundation. Read it here.