Helen Schell

‘The Human Spaceship – I believe art and science must collaborate for humanity to fully understand that we live in a space-faring society and are witnessing the most astounding change in ‘being-human’ through astronomy and space exploration in the 21st century.’  Helen Schell

Helen Schell is a visual artist and an ESERO-UK Space Ambassador (ESA education) based in North East England.

Since 2007, Helen has specialised in art and STEAM education projects about space exploration and science, collaborating with UK universities (Durham, Royal Holloway, Kent, UCLan, Cambridge and Northumbria). She has twice received an award from the prestigious Pollock Krasner Foundation enabling specific research involving the production of art projects which expand links with space organisations in Europe and the USA.

After 12 years of specialist art projects, in 2019 she reaped prestigious awards for this artwork. She won ESA’s (European Space Agency) Moon 3D Printing, International Competition for a Moon garden design. Moon-shot: Woman on the Moon, her solo show at Ely Cathedral, won the IAU100 Moon Landing 50 Prize for Most Innovative Event, worldwide. Later in the year, she had the distinction of being the first artist to be presented with the Sir Arthur C Clarke Award for Outreach for her contribution to space exploration. As such, she devises and presents space themed workshops and presentations (STEAM) for 2000-4000 children and adults annually, and art exhibitions for more than 30,000.

Specialist STEAM education techniques have led to her presenting workshops and talks at Science Museum, IoP, RAS, World Monument Fund, British Science Festival and many schools. Recent STEAM education projects with solar physicists (STFC funded projects) have enabled an extraordinary range of activities. By using innovative techniques the artists, scientists and educators from ‘Imagining the Sun’ (NUSTEM & Northumbria University) and ‘SunSpaceArt’ (Dr Helen Mason, University of Cambridge) have communicated complicated solar physics and space science to many new audiences.

The space themed artworks were developed during an MA in Glass at the University of Sunderland, UK and take the form of large mixed media installations, glassworks, paintings and Smart Materials costumes. The Human Spaceship is the umbrella project for artworks which include large 2d and 3d paintings, drawings and installations. These employ multiple optical illusions to represent what it is like to be human in space conditions. To develop ‘The Human Spaceship’ art project and her linked research into visual perception in ‘altered gravity’, she visited Houston and met lead scientists from NASA’s Human Spaceflight Program at Johnson Space Center (Artemis Mission, first woman on the Moon 2024), Rice Space Institute, Lunar & Planetary Institute, Astronaut Buoyancy Tank, the medical colleges of Baylor & TRISH (astronaut health) as well as the Space Architecture Dept at University of Houston (future technology). During her career, she has participated in several international art residencies, including Corning Museum of Glass, USA and Banff Centre for Arts, Canada, and also Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Cuba. In the UK, art projects include 10 solo shows in cathedrals, large works for art & science festivals and many galleries nationwide.

Helen says: ‘I believe science and art must collaborate and children should be taught these subjects in combination to create an inclusive learning environment. SunSpaceArt has promoted this concept by presenting exciting and experimental workshops, with great success, for 1000’s of participants of all ages and abilities. This project has enabled the production of innovative STEAM activities in education and in my own art practice’. 

Online Information:  http://thenewbridgeproject.com/portfolio/helen-schell/

STFC Fascination Article, Ely Moon-shot project 2019

The Human Spaceship, Vane, Newcastle, 2018

To see Helen Schell’s Artwork Slide Show from SciArtex 2020, click here.

Click on photo below to see more. All artwork by Helen is copyrighted.

Artist Helen Schell with ‘Solar Observatory’