Behind the project

An in-depth look


The University of Aberdeen

Science Teaching Hub

Installed September 2023, 

4 Artists were commissioned to create a set of individual and collaborative pieces inspired by the various subjects housed within the new building for display.  The new science hub is designed around the provision of specialist teaching, training and learning for students across a number of disciplines including chemistry, medical sciences, biological sciences and geosciences.  Artworks were created using digital and analogue methods including collage, painting and illustration.

Deflectors produced by Norsign


School of Geosciences/Chemistry

"The Inner Voice (The Muse) was inspired by the idea of the wind being this ‘great sculptor of the earth’ and is personified through an exploration of what I saw as a ‘relationship’ between the artist and muse – voiced from the subject’s perspective. 

The Heart of Discovery  was inspired by the idea of chemistry being at the heart of all the sciences, including Geology, and is a figurative exploration of how an understanding of the world around us – the journey of every particle – has the power to lead to a discovery within us. "


Emily Utter is a Canadian writer – and occasional multi-media artist – who lives in Aberdeen. Her short stories and creative non-fiction have been widely published in magazines and journals, including Gutter, Northwest Review, Geist, and the best of Canadian flash fiction anthology, This Will Only Take a Minute. 

Emily has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Aberdeen and is the Writer-in-Residence at Aberdeen’s specialist palliative care hospital, Roxburghe House.

She regularly facilitates private and commissioned workshops with local charities and organisations in Aberdeen and has taught creative writing at both Aberdeen College and the University of Aberdeen. 


School of Geosciences/Chemistry


KMG is a Scottish based artist, illustrator, printer and painter.

Her curious nature leads her work to explore themes ranging from the precarious to the mundane, often of a subversive nature. A weird combination of youthful enthusiasm mixed with utter cynicism leaves her work with a sarcastic, raw and yet playful tone.

With a strong belief in the power of art, KMG also regularly works with community groups, healthcare and educational institutions to help make art as accessible as possible.



School of Biological Sciences/& Medicine

"The work represents interconnectivity through disperate elements that spark imagination and inspire the journey of learning."


Jenny graduated from Gray’s School of Art in 2009 and has since practiced as a freelance artist exhibiting nationally and internationally. Working primarily in photography and digital collage, her work undertakes explorations of a range of preoccupations, including the construction/deconstruction of the self, both online and off, the tensions in our relationships with the non-human world, and seeking often missed details of the every day.

Under her ‘Corvid Eyes‘ remit she has completed site-specific outdoor and indoor collaged ‘paste ups’ across Scotland. As a working moniker, ‘Corvid Eyes’, describes a ‘magpie’ method of working- collecting a miscellany of imagery from a variety of historical and contemporary sources, to be reassembled into new narratives of sorrow, joy, and the absurd.


School of Biological Sciences/ & Medicine

"Chronicle explores learning, documenting and understanding the natural world and it's fragility through various methods and the legacy of that knowledge"


A professional artist since 2004, Mary is acclaimed for her intriguing and atmospheric paintings and works from her Aberdeen studio.  Working in a variety of mediums she has exhibited in many North East galleries over the years, including the family run Butterworth Gallery. Her subjects are often contemporary spaces for reflection or solace and emphasise the dramatic qualities of light. Rich in colour, depth and emotion, her atmospheric style is instantly recognisable and her work is held in private collections worldwide.

She has also worked behind the scenes as a cultural producer and contributing artist for many of Aberdeens public art projects which have raised funds for charity and raised the profile of art and Aberdeens creative scene. 

Research & Development

Artists spent time researching their designated subject and creating concepts for the final designs and collaborative works.  Multiple trips to The University of Aberdeens Cruickshank Botanic gardens and the Zoology Museum provided insight and inspiration for biology and life sciences with a trip to North Sea Core to explore the vast resource of geological materials in storage at their facility in Aberdeenshire.  These locations, The University and it's Special collections provided an invaluable resource for the artists to explore.

CRUICKSHANK BOTANIC GARDENS - The University of Aberdeen

Founded in 1898, the Cruickshank Botanic Garden is situated in Old Aberdeen on the King's College campus of the University of Aberdeen and is a partnership between the University and the Cruickshank Charitable Trust. The Garden exists to promote an appreciation of the beauty, diversity and importance of plants, and an understanding of their role in the natural world. This beautiful and peaceful 4.5 hectare (11-acre) Garden offers year-round interest to visitors. It has shrub borders, a rock and water garden, sunken garden, rose garden, herbaceous border and an arboretum, and houses a nationally important collection of more than 2500 taxa. Cruickshank Botanic Garden is an inclusive resource for the breadth of subjects taught across the University of Aberdeen, encompassing both the arts and sciences combined. While the Living Collection has immediate practical benefits in the teaching of specific disciplines in the School of Biological Sciences – as per the degree programmes listed below – the Schools of Education, English, Anthropology, Geography and Medicine regularly use the Botanic Garden for teaching and demonstration purposes.


The Zoology Museum is the only large, international exhibition of zoological specimens in the north of Scotland. The museum's displays are worldwide in scope, from protozoa to the great whales, including taxidermy, skeletal material, study skins, fluid-preserved specimens and models.

The university museum collections, of human culture, natural sciences, and medicine, gathered throughout the university histories are today a ‘Recognised Collection of National Significance’. Museums and Special Collections is now entrusted with curating these objects, archives, and printed materials. These collections of unique material are carefully curated and conserved and are available for use by students and staff of the university, and external researchers and readers from the local community and throughout the world. The collections continue be developed, as new and important acquisitions are made, and are being reinterpreted using new techniques and re-evaluated from different perspectives.

NORTH SEA CORE -  Aberdeenshire

North Sea Core CIC was set up in response to the release of core material through the relinquishment, abandonment and decommissioning of oil and gas fields across the UK Continental Shelf.  Core provides an incredible resource for geologists rather than seeing this material fall into disuse or be disgarded they collect, repurpose and redistribute it for use by the geoscience and wider scientific communities.

Many thanks to the all the individuals who welcomed us, gave their expertise and insight and contributed to the project!

Hannah, Sam, Jen, Jenny, Colin, Angie, Ross

Steven Smith and The University of Aberdeen Project Board, Professor Derek Scott Phd FRSB & Dr Peter Henderson

Robertson Construction, Reiach and Hall Architects & Norsign

Emily Utter's written pieces from the project and her collaboration with KMG were featured in 'Causeway' this Autumn.  Full version of the writing is shown here.