Inner Spaces

2018, Ontario Science Centre, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
art, Canada, cells, laboratories, pathology, research, science
About This Project

Date: May 1st – May 31st, 2018

Project Members: Anna Maria Kawecka, Cassandra Kist, and Kasey Ball

Stakeholders: Molly Shoichet, Angelika Duffy, Ana Klasnja and Sabrina Greupner

Venue: Ontario Science Centre, Level 6, Rock Paper Science Hall


Inner Spaces examines the aestheticism of real Canadian research – straight from the lab of scientists. The exhibition focuses on the scientific merit of each displayed image, while calling on viewers’ imagination and creativity to discover and appreciate the research’s incidental beauty.


The exhibition is designed for audiences of all ages – those young, and those young at heart. Didactics present complicated research in an engaging and accessible way. They are written with a mindfulness for children and families, although we anticipate a wide range of visitors as the exhibition is part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2018.


Inner Spaces is hosted by the Ontario Science Centre (OSC), on Level 6 in the Rock Paper Science Hall. The space was generously provided by the OSC, and effectively contextualizes the content of the exhibition. It also has the technology and materials required to support the display concept (i.e a projector, sufficient power supply).


Development of the exhibition began with Molly Shoichet and Angelika Duffy of the University of Toronto’s Science & Engineering Engagement Department and in collaboration with The Shoichet Lab. The project expanded to include three student curators from the University of Toronto’s Museum Studies Exhibition Class.


Planning and organization as a full team began in September, 2017. Multiple venues and displays were discussed. The definitive version of Inner Spaces was achieved in January, 2018. In November, 2017 the team earned a spot in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2018, as well as a partnership with the OSC. Images for display were first chosen based on aesthetics, and then 1 finalized based on the variety of research being represented, and the allotted space at the host institution. These display pieces will come in two sizes (22” by 28” and 24” by 36”) and be exhibited using framed backlit film. Additionally, one scientist provided the team with a timelapse that will be projected on loop.


In order to provide CONTACT visitors with a sample of the exhibition free of charge, there will be two vinyl window decals at the front entrance of the OSC. To engage further with audiences, the team developed an interactive element, calling on visitors to draw their own “cellfies,” or what they imagine their own cells may look like. This is to be achieved via two identical activity tables in the exhibition space, alongside a wall to display them. Installation will take place during the last week of April 2018. The exhibition will open May 1st, and close May 31st. On May 5th, it will engage with 300 children, taking part in the Visionary Expo hosted at the OSC.


Marketing and promotion of the exhibition was done via University of Toronto Communications; the University of Toronto Museum Studies student blog Musings; Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2018; as well as the OSC’s marketing department.


Our exhibition does not officially open until May 5th, but we are hopeful that the outcomes will render it successful, based on the criteria set by our stakeholders and our host institution’s ability to support them. The Shoichet Lab’s rationale for the exhibition was to inspire and engage a wide audience (in a new and creative way) with the work being done in regenerative medicine. We chose to celebrate the incidental aestheticism of the work, drawing audiences closer to science by vibrant visual means. To our knowledge, this avenue has not been pursued before so it met the requirement to produce something new. The OSC also receives many visitors and has marketed the exhibition well, so the exhibition should reach a large and diverse audience.


The team would like to thank all of our partners, especially the University of Toronto’s Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry Department, The Shoichet Lab, and the OSC for their continued support and guidance throughout the project. We would also like to thank our professors, teaching assistants, and mentors. Special thanks is also extended to the many staff at the OSC who gave us their time and expertise to make Inner Spaces a reality