Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Inge Panneels
<[email protected]>

article posted 08 Feb 2016

Inge Panneels is an artist and academic with nearly twenty years of experience in place-making projects with public art projects for the NHS, banking institutions, musea and local authorities but increasingly interested in the cultural value of glass in the broader context of visual culture. She is a part-time senior lecturer at the National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland and a current AHRC funded PhD researcher at the Visual Culture department of Northumbria University.

Through the Looking Glass: 100 years of Art and Science

Inge Panneels a*, Glen B Cook b

Glass has fundamentally changed our cultural landscape over the last one hundred years. From its key part in science, significantly changing our urban landscape to its role in the agricultural and communication revolution and space exploration, glass has been a cornerstone material of the 20th century. Going forward, the role of glass within medical science and climate change discourse and the growing need and availability of solar power generation will see its role undiminished.

Yet, the aesthetic qualities of glass have been the predominant preserve of designers, makers and artists and its discourse mostly limited to the field of art history. However, collaborative creative thinking in the fields of art and science can and has yielded a synergy that transcends the fields.

It is within this framework that we would like to showcase some case studies, of how artist quests have pushed material developments, of how artist queries have engaged with science problems and how scientists have embraced artistic thinking and making in their work. We hope that this will be the opening of sustained dialogue around the idea of genuine art-science collaboration to be nurtured and developed and as a means of being better equipped for future challenges.


a) Senior Lecturer, National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland,
Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL
<[email protected]>

b) Chief Scientist, Corning Museum of Glass, USA
<[email protected]>