Blending art and anatomy, the Dissection Room Art sessions I founded at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and taught from 2008-2012 gave participants the unique opportunity to explore anatomy artistically.
Sessions involved talks by university staff and guest speakers on related art & medicine topics followed by artistic workshops exploring the specimens. Due to the unique placement of the workshops within the anatomy department, the trainee surgeons were on hand to provide expert anatomical knowledge to allow interpretation of the structures seen.
External artists were invited to collaborate an provide their artistic experience in exploring the body tissues through different artistic mediums and aid the students in considering the ethics of working with human tissue.
Utilising different artistic mediums, the students are guided to improve their observational skills, with a concentration upon tissue structure and texture.
Collaborative sessions with other organisations
In collaboration with the charity Saving Faces (the Facial Surgery Research Foundation), the BSMS art society ran a session using prosections of the head and neck to highlight the unique nature of the face. It explored how we respond to the face and the approach of medicine to aid our aesthetic expectations, especially when disease and trauma are involved.
Taking inspiration from the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, the session explored skin, burns and the impact upon the quality of life of individuals undergoing surgical procedures.
When exploring the face, drawings importantly cannot be removed from the dissection room due to identifiable features. Such transience of producing an art piece is important to reinforce the vital ethical implications and privilege of using the dissection room.
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