Seeking Applications for Art and Science Collaborations

The Marie Christine Kohler Fellows @ WID program, hosted by the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at UW–Madison, is currently open for application submissions. This unique fellowship fosters interdisciplinary collaboration by bringing together graduate students in the arts and sciences. Participants will work in pairs to develop and showcase a art-science fusion project, such as seminars, exhibitions, performances, or presentations, aimed at both the campus and the wider community.

Fellows are selected for a one-year term, during which they receive a stipend of $1,500 each semester in addition to a $3,000 budget for their projects. They gain access to designated spaces within the Discovery Building and are encouraged to join WID’s regular events, including community lunches and Discovery Seminars. The WID administrative team offers support in various aspects, from project management to organizing dinners with guest speakers and coordinating other activities. Applications for the Kohler Fellows program are open until April 30, with decisions to be finalized by June 2024.

In keeping with WID’s legacy of innovation, previous cohorts have made significant contributions. The “Bacteria and Me” coloring book, written by science fellow Tiffany Harris (microbiology) and illustrated by art fellow Aedan Gardill (physics), is now used in curriculums around the world.  An art exhibit organized by fellows Lena Vincent (astrobiology) and Kaitlin Moore (literary studies) explored alien life speculations in “Life as We Don’t Know It,” with an exhibition at the Overture Center.  Art educator Tracey Bullington and biomedical engineer Namita Khajanchi collaborated on another noteworthy creation, a graphic novel titled “Peek Inside the Lab,” created from a series of storytelling activities used to generate comics about the everyday experiences of scientists. 

Upcoming projects from the current cohort include “The Bee, the Flower, and Other Ways of Knowing,”  in which artist Paulina King and entomologist Celeste Huff explore themes of pollination and bee collaboration, with a focus on the allure of flowers. The highlight will be a unique “pollination experiment” set in the arboretum, showcasing wax replicas of clay flowers made by participants, filled with different types of nectar. This setup aims to turn bees into artists; as they visit the wax flowers and deposit pollen, they will inadvertently craft abstract art on the wax surfaces.

The project “When Hearts Align,” created by sculptor Kate Davidson and computational social scientist Michelle Marji, presents an immersive art installation designed to foster a deep sense of connection between two individuals. Through synchronized movement activities, participants can harmonize their physiological states, allowing their heartbeats to sync up. This experience is enhanced by the visual display of their heartbeats in real time, offering participants a near-tangible feeling of unity with their partners, and can be found on display in the Discovery Building from April 6th-30th. 

The Marie Christine Kohler Fellows @ WID program, named in honor of Marie Christine Kohler, embodies a legacy intertwined with the Kohler family’s longstanding commitment to supporting the arts, education, and innovation. By offering financial support, access to resources, and a platform for interdisciplinary engagement, this program underscores the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery’s pivotal role as a hub for innovation and cross-disciplinary exploration at UW–Madison.


Apply here: Marie Kohler Fellow Applications
More information, please visit our website:
For questions about the The Kohler Fellows program, Andrew Hanus.