When I have the time, I love to illustrate the research of academics and thought leaders, especially when their work is connected to my own centers of interest. I recently worked for Andrew Hoffman, professor and director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, who was looking for a cartoonist to illustrate an idea.
Andrew Hoffman offers a daring perspective on academic scholarship that “had become fixated on generating lots of pieces of knowledge –bricks- and far less concerned with putting them together into a cohesive whole”. Academic success had become about how many times an article has been cited in specialized journals that very few read. Instead, success should be based on making academic knowledge available to everyone in order to inform important national debates like climate change, nanotechnology, nuclear power, GMOs, autisms and vaccines and so on. In short, it’s time for academics to step outside their ivory tower and meet the public – people like me- who are starving for education and proven data in a confused and often poorly informed social media or TV world.
Here is an essay adapted from Andrew Hoffman book How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate (Stanford University Press, 2015).
And here is the idea he asked me to illustrate. I hope you’ll appreciate the reflection.