'Science of Grief' web event will explore pandemic themes of loss, hope

Emory Report | April 22, 2020

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As COVID-19 devastates communities around the world, Emory faculty and health care providers will collaborate with Science Gallery to host a virtual program on April 29 exploring loss, hope and creativity during this crisis.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate communities around the world, Emory University faculty members and health care providers will collaborate with Science Gallery to host a virtual program on the “Science of Grief,” a multi-dimensional exploration of loss, hope and creativity during this crisis. Emory is one of eight member sites in Science Gallery’s global network.

Apart from Emory, the webcast will feature scientists and artists from Science Gallery Detroit (Michigan State University) and Science Gallery Dublin (Trinity College). The event is expected to be the first of an ongoing web series on the topic. 

The virtual program, to be held April 29 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. EDT, is free and open to all. Emory's hour can be watched on Science Gallery Atlanta's YouTube page during that time frame and after.  The entire program can be viewed here.

Emory’s contribution will center on new coronavirus research, the experiences of its health care providers and art expressions from its faculty.

Deborah W. Bruner, senior vice president for research at Emory, says she hopes the virtual program informs and inspires viewers. 

“This event perfectly aligns with our fundamental goals of bringing together Emory’s leading innovators in arts and science to support our communities,” she explains. “So many are grappling with a sense of loss. As an academic research institution, we can do our part to both validate and mitigate those feelings.” 

Bruner, who spearheaded the partnership with Science Gallery, says Science Gallery Atlanta was to originally have launched with a physical exhibition that would showcase the scientific and artistic skills of Emory faculty and community members. 

“While those plans will continue, we want to embrace the technology we have at hand to connect on this important issue,” she says. “The web event is an excellent forum for our experts to weigh in on a topic that is affecting the entire world. I see it as our first pop-up – only it’s virtual.”

Science Gallery Detroit began the Science of Grief event a few years ago. With COVID-19 shutting down all gatherings, Science Gallery took the opportunity to broaden the program to include other sites in the collaborative. The program theme on grief is especially pertinent as the pandemic wreaks untold damage: So many have lost a loved one, a job or a home, and have been displaced mentally and emotionally to a new reality with no known end date. 

“We are all experiencing multiple levels of grief, and our normal mechanisms for coping with and processing grief have been severely interrupted and curtailed,” says Andrea Bandelli, executive director of Science Gallery International. “At the same time, in the history of humanity, we have never been better placed to respond to the current pandemic crisis — all our scientific, medical, engineering and systems knowledge are helping us respond faster than ever before.” 

Part experiment, part exhibition, Science Galleries are typically a living laboratory for ideas. The gallery’s programs connect, engage and showcase the work of artists, scientists, researchers, industry and a global network of collaborators. Some of them are in permanent spaces while others function as pop-ups and traveling exhibits.  

About the Science Gallery network 

Science Gallery is the world’s only university network dedicated to public engagement with science and art. The Science Gallery Network consists of leading universities united around a singular mission: to ignite creativity and discovery where science and art collide.

Science Gallery International is the non-profit, charitable organization catalyzing the growth of the network, providing services, tools and resources required to power and expand this unique global collaboration, which now has eight members across four continents: the pioneering member Trinity College Dublin (Ireland); King's College London (the United Kingdom); the University of Melbourne (Australia); the Indian Institute of Science, Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, The National Centre for Biological Sciences (India); Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy); Michigan State University (United States); Erasmus University Medical Center (The Netherlands); and Emory University (United States). For more information about the network, visit sciencegallery.org