Congratulations Erica – Finalist of the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year – Science in the Arts

The Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year ( 1-10 November) will highlight breakthrough thinking from around the world. Over the past months, they have received over 900 nominations from 111 countries.

They are delighted to introduce the finalists and present their science breakthroughs of the year in these ten categories: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities, Science in the Arts, Digital Education, Science and Innovation Management, Emerging Talents, Science Start-Ups, Science Engagement Initiatives.

Breaking the Wall of Disabled Access to Science – Erica Tandori (Artist in residence, Rossjohn lab, Monash university)

Lying at the intersection between art, science and blindness, Tandori’s exhibitions use interactive sculptures to engage and inspire audiences of all ages and abilities. Her breakthrough is making art and science exhibitions inclusive, accessible and available to everyone globally.

Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Discrimination, Diversity, Education, Science Communication

Watch Erica’s presentation of her breakthrough below:

Erica Tandori is a legally blind artist, researcher and academic. She explores the intersections of art, vision loss and science. Tandori’s PhD focused on capturing the entoptic effects of her retinal disease through art, conveying an ‘eye-witness’ account of blindness. As resident artist at the Rossjohn Lab, Monash University, Erica creates multi-sensory, multi-modal artworks communicating biomedical research to blind and low-vision audiences. This inspires people of all ages and abilities to learn, understand and appreciate the wonders of science.


Other Science in the arts finalists

Further information:


Falling Walls and Berlin Science Week invite you to this year’s World Science Summit, held remotely from 1 – 10 November 2020. This year we shift from physical events to a global virtual showcase, with free digital access for everyone. We acknowledge the combined effort of scientists worldwide to overcome the pandemic, and its many effects. Make sure to attend this event, where some of the world’s best researchers gather to discuss and celebrate the most recent breakthroughs in science and society from all over the world.


1 – 10 November 2020, with a daily science highlight programme at Noon GMT (13.00 Berlin Time) and the Grand Finale on 9 November


500+ speakers, 200+ sessions, 1 digital platform with live-streamed breakthroughs, expert panels, workshops and lectures


Completely remote – Free digital access from wherever you are plus selected physical events in Berlin

Unlocking Your Inner Eye. Artistic Intelligence with Erica Tandori, a Legally Blind Artist

Artist in residence, Dr Erica Tandori is expanding the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Art. Her work at Monash University in the Rossjohn lab focuses on communicating science through art for the visually impaired. She is now expanding this work and utilising robotics in her artistic creations to create a multi-sensory experience. AI and robotics have the potential to transform lives and promote social good. Harnessing these technologies to create art exhibitions exploring science and biomedicine is enabling greater inclusion, accessibility and education for low vision, blind and diverse audiences. Erica’s work and her personal story provide an impressive example of AI for social good, promoting diversity and inclusion in science and technology.

Art is not in the retina. It’s in the imagination. Hear the story of Erica Tandori, a visually impaired artist, who is using AI to create multi-sensory art experiences showcasing the wonders of biological life.

– Art is not in the retina, it’s in the imagination
– Natural intelligence
– Tapping into the soul to power AI and art
– Art for good
– Fostering wonderment to think differently

Panelists include Neil Sahota, World Wide Business Development Leader, IBM Watson and Michael Ashley, Screenwriting Professor at Chapman university

Original article

Vision Australia Radio interview – Erica on accessibility in the arts

Kenneth Phua recently invited Dr Erica Tandori of Monash University onto his program ‘Seeing Without Eyes’ to discuss accessibility in the arts. Art can be and should be accessible to the total population and not just a select few. If you love the arts, this is an interview highlight from Vision Australia Radio in Perth that you shouldn’t miss.

Original article

Vision Australia Radio interview – Erica on Art & Ophthalmology

Kenneth Phua recently invited Dr Erica Tandori of Monash University onto his program ‘Seeing Without Eyes’ to discuss accessibility in the arts. Kenneth enjoyed the discussion so much he invited Erica back once again to hear more about her career. Erica discusses her vision loss, her experience of dealing with the medical industry and finding a way forward with her passion for visual art.

Original article

Opening the world of cancer research to the low vision community

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) in collaboration with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging recently opened its doors to the blind and low vision community with the Sensory Scientific Exhibition and Discovery Day. Held on Friday 6 December, also including students from local primary and secondary schools, and members of the wider community, more than 70 attendees had the opportunity to explore the world of cancer research by engaging with interactive displays and 3D and tactile models.

Conceived by Monash BDI’s Professor Jamie Rossjohn in 2018, this exhibition has grown since it was first held in 2018, travelling across Australia and even included as a finalist for the Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion.

This year’s exhibition focused on cancer research and was hosted by Professor Roger Daly, the Head of the Monash BDI’s Cancer Program. He said he wanted to host the event because it’s important to engage with everyone in the community in order to explain the mechanisms and treatment of cancer, not just those with normal vision.

“I’ve been in cancer research for 30 years and given hundreds of presentations. However, participation in this event has driven home the importance of communicating our research in a way that is accessible to all,” Professor Daly said.

“We take for granted, when talking to scientists, students and the general public, that they can see what we’re talking about when describing what happens in cancer at a cellular and anatomical level. For those who have low or no vision, using texts and diagrams is often not enough, so programs that can convert these scientific concepts into tactile and audible demonstrations are enormously valuable,” he said.

Dr Erica Tandori, artist-in-residence in the Rossjohn lab, produced a completely new suite of tactile art and models that depict cells and cell division, tumour growth and invasion, standard and new, targeted cancer treatments and more. Dr Tandori has a PhD in visual art and ophthalmology, in which she used art to articulate the processes of her own vision loss caused by juvenile macular degeneration.

“Cancer can affect anyone, even those with low vision. We need to demystify cancer for this community, and this event was a great leveller as it included everyone and related to everyone,” Dr Tandori said.

“We even created a giant tactile chess game for our low vision attendees, , complete with cancer cell chess pieces  on one side and immune cell chess pieces on the other. The kids who attended loved playing the game, and they understood that it was at once metaphoric and literal, just as the immune cells try to fight cancer cells in our bodies. It was fantastic to watch them learn and play at the same time,” she said.

Dr Tandori and Dr Kylie Wagstaff coordinated a team of researchers from the Monash BDI Cancer Program to create a range of displays and activities that highlighted the work done across the institute. The exhibition included tactile 3D models, 2D graphic displays, olfactory displays, large print and braille formats, and more than 40 researchers volunteered on the day.

“The exhibition was such a positive experience for all involved. For researchers like myself, it was fantastic to be able to communicate our work in a different way, using models and artwork. The attendees went away with a better understanding of what cancer is and what scientists are doing to try and combat it,” Dr Wagstaff said.

Participants also had the opportunity to experience Monash University’s CAVE2 facility, a 360-degree immersive experience that projected cancer related molecules onto enormous surround-screens.

Original article