To say that David Edwards
's The Lab: Creativity and Culture
(Harvard University Press, 2010) is inspiring would be a profound understatement. In a series of concise, focused chapters that range from "Dreams" to "Translational Change," Edwards maps out a program for the artscience laboratory as a space that opens up creativity by fostering dialog across disciplines, materials, cultures, and groups of people. These ambitious ideas are illustrated by clear examples from Edwards's own teaching and research, exploring the potential of the laboratory (broadly defined) as a creative space that maps onto the classroom, the kitchen, the gallery, the storefront, the street. The Lab
is a kind of manifesto that builds on Edwards's previous work on the innovative potential of transcending the art-science divide, and urges readers to challenge their ideas of what a laboratory is, has been, and can be. It's a wonderful and thought-provoking book that has wide ramifications for readers interested in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), both in terms of how we conceptualize and communicate our research and how we think of the space of the classroom. I came away from our conversation wanting immediately to set up an artscience lab in Vancouver, and to head to Paris to try some whiffable chocolate.