AT THE Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), an earth sciences research institute of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), corridors are lined with posters of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and other types of natural disasters.

Amid the rather mind-boggling swirl of scientific speak, it is a little mystifying to see a sign on an office door that reads: artist-in-residence.

The title belongs to Professor Isaac Kerlow, a bald-pated, bicycle-riding artist-academic with an unlikely job: To use art to educate people about Earth's hazards, and how affected communities - particularly those in South-east Asia - live with them.

The Mexico-born American took up the inaugural post last year after stepping down as the founding dean of NTU's School of Art, Design and Media, a position he held for three years.

The EOS, he claimed with some pride, is 'the only earth science research centre in the world that has an artist-in-residence'.

A former bigwig with The Walt Disney Company who had been consulted on Hollywood films like Brokeback Mountain and Pirates Of The Caribbean, Prof Kerlow's first official project at the EOS was Mayon: The Volcano Princess, a documentary about people living around the Mayon volcano in the Bicol region of the Philippines.

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