Bob has championed the engagement between arts and science for a significant part of his career, in the belief that science knowledge must become part of mainstream cultural understanding if human societies are to adapt and be more able to function sustainably and equitably with the diverse, natural functional ecosystems which underpin life on Earth.
Bob supported the Caluste Gulbenkian Foundation Galapagos artist’s research and residency project committee led by Sian Ede. Bob contributed to the identification of biodiversity and sustainability questions; the selection of artists; and providing science expertise to the curatorial team.
2011-12 Multiple artists, curated Greg Hilty, Bergit Arends, Calouse Gulbenkian Foundation
One of a series of projects for which Bob was SRO, this project was developed as a NHM contribution to the International Year of Biodiverity, it explored ‘Amazonia’ as a state of mind, receptive of the wider need to balance human demands on the planet with making space for the natural biodiversity upon which healthy, vibrant ecosystems depend.
2010 Jorge and Lucy Orta, curator Bergit Arends
TREE, the work to celebrate the bicentennary of Charles Darwin’s birth as a permanent installation in the inner sanctum of Natural History Museum’s cathedral-like Waterhouse building, was the outcome of an idea conceived by Bob Bloomfield to create a lasting memorial to Darwin’s achievements. TREE is a fitting response for its time highlighting not only the lasting legacy of Darwin’s theory but its relevance to this, the 21st century, and to a future threatened by a catastrophic loss of natural variety.
2009 Tania Kovats, curator Bergit Arends
After Darwin Contemporary Expressions
A work exploring the legacy of Charles Darwin’s third major science book – Exprssions of the emotons in man and aniamls, a work which for a while was largely disregarded by the science community befor Darwin’s insight was again regognised.
2009 Multiple artists, curator Bergit Arends
Championed by Bob as SRO this project was developed to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the great Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, famous for his Systema naturae in which he established the binomial species naming system. The project included field work in a variety of urban spaces along the Thames, tributary roads and parks of London. The exhibition explored, collecting and documenting specimens and commenting on the variety of nature emerging around human created environments. Collecting sites included the last resting place of Darwin’s bulldog T H Huxley in Finchley North London.
2007 Mark Dion, Curator Bergit Arends
Ship – the art of climate change
In this project Bob championed the partnership with arts group Cape Farewell led by artist David Buckland, supporting their interest in ‘Climate Art’. Buckland, by taking artists on a small vessel to the Svalbard archipelago, aimed to draw attention to the rapid changes in the arctic environment. The major exhibition the Ship, curated under Bob as NHM SRO led to works which continue to be shown internationally including at the Liverpool Biennial.
2005-6 Multiple artists, in collaborations with CapeFarewell, curator Bergit Arends
Face to face
This project based on the portraiture of orphaned apes by James Mollision explored the closeness of humans to the natural world.
2005 James Mollison Curator Gabby Campbell-Johnson
This exhibition focused the contrasts and similarities of outcome from technically difficult but traditional painting of Mark Fairnington with the hyper-real images of Giles Revell painstakingly constructed from multiple scanning electron microscope images. The exhibition explored both the significant of image recording in the history of natural history recording and focused visitors attention one the amazing complexity of seeming small and mundane species.
2004 Giles Revell and Markfairington curator Gabby Campbell-Johnson