Irène Hediger & Artists-in_Labs: exploring the unknown across diverse disciplines

In this dialogue, I speak to Irène Hediger, the director of the Artists-in -Labs programme based at the Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland. The programme, which has now been running continuously for the last nineteen years, is one of the most successful Arts-Science initiatives in the world and has initiated and managed over 50 creative engagements between artists and research labs, ranging from CERN to Aquatic Research.
The programme is part of the Department of Cultural Analysis (DKV) at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and it works to build sustainable collaboration between artists and scientists of all disciplines, not just in Switzerland but, under Irène’s leadership, has been expanding its field of engagement all around the world, including China, Saudi Arabia, and most recently South Africa. These long-term interdisciplinary and cross-border collaborations provide artists with an opportunity to critically engage with the sciences and their experimental and aesthetic dimensions. This includes explorations of the site of the laboratory, as well as a range of scientific topics, methods and technologies.
In this podcast, we discuss the personal path that brought Irène to join Dr Jill Scott as co-director of AiL; the lessons learnt from the first pilot projects; the way that the AiL project has evolved and the lessons that have been learnt about time and how to manage such residencies; the selection process; and the importance of unknowing and creative thinking on the part of both artists and scientists in such collaborative projects.
The AiL home page:
https://www.zhdk.ch/en/researchproject/ail--artists-in-labs-program-418324
The project also has extensive documentation of all the residencies, with short documentary videos recording the artists and scientists experiences. https://www.artistsinlabs.ch/en/
For details about their current collaborations and projects see the AiL Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/artistsinlabs/