Innogen  ·  Publications  ·  Journal articles
Graphic and Novel: An Arts and Law Project

Harmon, SHE

SCRIPTed   11 (1) 132-136

DOI: 10.2966/scrip.110114.132

April 2014

Science has both encouraged instrumental changes in the way we interact with the natural world, and facilitated paradigm shifts in how we understand that world and our place in it. These changes, like science itself, can be accelerated or slowed, facilitated or hindered, entrenched or reshaped through regulation. The complex relationship that exists between science, regulation and change means that both science and regulation are not only appropriate subjects for socio-ethical consideration, but are only justified when they have been subject to such consideration. Importantly, that consideration must not be limited to policy or academic settings, but must include wider publics. Indeed, Susan Greenfield, former head of the Royal Institution, once suggested that the engagement of the public in science, and the expression of scientific ideas in ways that can be understood, is a key scientific challenge. Of course, the same observation is applicable to law, and, importantly, to law as it relates to science.
In the Graphic and Novel Project (GNP),we used graphic speculative fiction (SF) to articulate some of the legal and ethical issues around the development of the biosciences and their governance, the aim being to develop a tool that might facilitate legal education and encourage meaningful social discourses around science and law. In the course of developing our tool – an illustrated SF novel – we explored the often troubled history of public engagement around science and its governance and the often ambiguous and contested relationship that science has with SF. In this report, I outline the process by which we crafted the Phase I output of the GNP – a near-future, illustrated SF novel called Fever Medicine – and how such a project might be undertaken differently the next time round. I conclude by identifying some plans for its use.