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6 August 97

Dundee to host major arts and science meeting

The University of Dundee is playing a key role in a ground-breaking meeting which could propel Dundee to the forefront of an exciting initiative to merge art and science.

A City Responds, which takes place this Friday and Saturday, will be exploring how a city such as Dundee should work towards integrating science and art - with proposals ranging from developing the waterfront to hosting an international festival of the arts and sciences.

Vice-Principal of the University of Dundee Professor David Swinfen - who will welcome delegates to the University of Dundee on the second day - said: 'I am delighted that the University is playing a part in this initiative because - perhaps more so than any other higher education institution in Scotland - we provide an extremely broad subject coverage ranging from science through to fine art.

'I feel confident that with the reputation Duncan of Jordanstone College holds as one of the best art colleges in Scotland, the 13 million biomedical sciences institute which is due to open this October and our stake in the new arts centre project in the Nethergate, we can look forward to a pivotal role in exploring the relationship between art and science in Dundee.'

The meeting, to be attended by around 80 top level delegates and speakers, was organised by DEAF (the Demarco European Art Foundation) and ASCENT, (the Association for Art, Science, Engineering and Technology. Dundee was chosen as the venue both because of Professor Richard Demarco's close connections with the city - he was responsible for bringing the Edinburgh Festival to Dundee last year and is an honorary graduate of the University of Dundee - and also because of the significant developments which are taking place there in the art and science worlds. The 8 million arts centre is due to open in 1998 and the Wellcome Trust Building at the University of Dundee - which will make Dundee second only to Oxford and Cambridge in the number of scientists per capita carrying out research into the biomedical and life sciences - is scheduled to open later this year.

A City Responds was inspired by Professor George Steiner, who delivered the first Edinburgh University Festival Lecture, a prestigious lectureship instituted in 1996 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Arts Festival. In it he suggested that music and the arts are well equipped to 'engage with the dance of the spirit in the sciences' and that mediums such as festivals and the theatre have largely ignored the challenges presented by science.

The meeting will take place on 8 August at the Kydd Building, University of Abertay Dundee and on 9 August at the Bonar Hall, University of Dundee.

Delegates and speakers will include:

Professor George Steiner, Professor of Comparative Literature at Cambridge and Geneva Professor Richard Demarco, director of the Demarco European Art Foundation and honorary graduate of the University of Dundee

The Lord Provost of Dundee, Mervyn Rolfe

Professor David Swinfen, Vice-Principal, University of Dundee

Professor Bernard King, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Abertay

Sebastian Tombs, Secretary, Royal Incorporation of Architects for Scotland

Dr Simon Gage, Edinburgh International Festival of Science & Technology

Rt Rev Vincent Logan, Bishop of Dunkeld

Professor Sir Graham Hills, former Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde

Robert Steele, Professor of Surgery, University of Dundee

Murdo Macdonald, Professor of History of Scottish Art, University of Dundee

Contact Colin Sanderson, director, ASCENT: Tel (0131) 333 5288, email

Professor Richard Demarco, DEAF: Telephone (0131) 557 0707, fax (0131) 557 5972

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