why art when we have science?

Does this graph evoke anything in you? Does it stir up feelings or a deep call to action? It may, if you have any idea what it’s referencing or you really like graphs. But for the majority of us, we are deeply feeling creatures who are more moved by stories and relating than we are by hard data.

‘Nitrous oxide emissions with organic crop production depends on fall soil moisture’, Westphal et al. 2018

The image is a chart from Megan Westphal’s research paper – ‘Nitrous oxide emissions with organic crop production depends on fall soil moisture’, Westphal et al., published in 2018. It is a critical piece of research in looking at how water impacts the cycling of nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere and how that is affected by various farming practices. I won’t lie – it’s a tough read, full of facts and charts. But this is the type of research that is so important in understanding how to move forward as people who – you know, kind of need to eat food to survive.

So what draws us deeper into deeper understanding?

Bigger graphs? More facts? More headlines shouting of crisis?


For some of us, maybe. For many of us, not at all. That’s where Eco-Craft comes in. The Manitoba Craft Council paired craft artists and scientists together to explore the science of climate change. I had the chance to sit with soil scientist Megan Westphal for close to a year, hearing her passion for and deep understanding of soil science and complex systems.

ECO-CRAFT is a creative, cross-disciplinary collaboration of artists and scientists, presented by the Manitoba Craft Council (MCC). Nine craft artists and ten environmental scientists were paired together in the spring of 2021 and invited to connect and collaborate on the scientist’s area of study – such as migration patterns, geographic information systems and the implementation of drones in Arctic-based research, to name a few!


explores how artists can present scientific information in creative ways that allow for nuance, emotion, and discovery.

Exhibition photos by Ebunoluwa Akinbo

Artists and scientists both work  to try to make sense of things, to find rhythms and patterns, and from these create narratives of experience and draw conclusions. 

They are very different, but they come from the same place; the place of questions.

Seema Goel, Eco-Craft curator

The ambitions of this project are urgent and massive, despairing and hopeful – explore the role of art in what is one of the biggest challenges facing us today: climate change. The rapidly deteriorating environment needs the sincere and sustained engagement of the craft community and creatives of all stripes. But how?

MCC’s teams of artists and scientists team up to explore this question through craft.

Exhibition photos by Ebunoluwa Akinbo

Exhibition Details:

C2 Centre for Craft

1 – 329 Cumberland Avenue, Winnipeg

Gallery Hours:

September 9 – October 29, 2022

Wednesday to Saturday, 12 – 4pm

Opening Reception:

Friday, September 9, 7 – 9pm

Masks required

Wheelchair accessible

Gallery Contact:

MCC Programme Coordinator: Katrina Craig

Visit to learn more about the project and other artist pairings.