Artists in the Medical Museum
Bodily Matters Pre-conference Event, July 6th 2016
UCL Pathology Museum | Royal Free Hospital London
Anatomical dissection and artistic practice have gone hand-in-hand for centuries, with artists being among the first to document and record detailed observations of the internal structure of the human body. The relationship between drawing and dissection has thus long supported medical and artistic education alike. However, contemporary relationships between medical institutions and artists seeking to access their collections has been complicated in recent decades by conflict, controversy and a disjuncture between professional medical codes of ethics, and artistic intentions. This special one day event will explore the role of contemporary artists in the medical museum and dissection room, considering questions of ethics, education and public vs. professional understandings of death and the human body.
Held in UCL Pathology Museum at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, participants will be able to take part in a hands-on anatomical drawing workshop led by Dr. Lucy Lyons, surrounded by the historic pathological collections, and utilising the specimens on display. Lucy investigates drawing as a phenomenological activity that evidences experience and communicates knowledge in medical sciences. She is a lecturer in drawing research and painting at City & Guilds of London Art School, and a visiting lecturer at Imperial College London, where she teaches visual note taking for surgeons and a member of the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain.
Drawing workshop + seminar & drinks reception (limited to 15 places) £25
Seminar & drinks reception only (maximum 25 places) £15
14:00-15:00 Drawing workshop with artist Dr. Lucy Lyons
15:00-15:30 Coffee break
15:30-17:00 Artists in the Medical Museum seminar:
Lucy Lyons – Drawing Parallels
Pascale Pollier – The Body in Pieces
Emily Evans – Artists in the 21st Century Dissection Room
17:00-17:30 Panel discussion Q&A
17:30-19:00 Drinks reception
How To Get There:
Artists in the Medical Museum will take place at UCL Pathology Museum, 2nd Floor UCL Medical Campus, Royal Free Hospital, Rowland Hill Street, Hampstead, London NW3 2PF.
To get to UCL Pathology Museum, please come to the Rowland Hill Street entrance to the Royal Free (turn right out of Belsize Park tube station, walk up the hill and turn right onto Rowland Hill Street at The George pub and down the hill to the Royal Free entrance), come through the foyer, walk straight ahead and take the lift or stairs to the 2nd floor, turn right out of either, through the double doors and it’s the first door on your left.
Drawing Workshop with Dr. Lucy Lyons
Dr Lucy Lyons BA (Hons), MA, PhD, MMAA
Stopping to look slowly and make closer observations is often seen as a luxury, yet it is an essential part of research. In this workshop you will have the opportunity to get close up and appreciate a selection of specimens relating to Drawing Parallells, a Share Academy funded project in partnership with UCL, UAL and London Museums Group. This project investigated how artistic encounters can be used to respond towards foetal and neonatal specimens.
Led by artist Lucy Lyons, you will be guided in the art of slow looking and slow drawing in order to re-evaluate and appreciate these specimens and the role of drawing in everyday life, research and as a way of knowing.
Seminar & Panel Discussion
Drawing Parallels – Dr. Lucy Lyons
Of all the specimens and artefacts housed within medical museums, foetal and neonatal specimens seem to be the ones that people don’t want to see, that others think people shouldn’t see and also the ones people really want to see. These issues were explored within the contexts of artistic engagement and museum display, and formulated through a series of practical workshops that formed Drawing Parallels, a Share academy funded project in collaboration with UCL museums and collections and Barts Pathology Museum QMUL.
There are stories of museums ‘hiding’ specimens of this type, allowing them to remain in cupboards, ceasing to maintain them or disposing of them. Some think they should not be kept under any circumstances and some think if they are kept, they should not be displayed. But who thinks this and why? What are the concerns about foetal and neonatal specimens and how are these different from other collected and displayed human material? Can artistic practices allow these concerns to be overcome and help us re-see and re-evaluate these and importantly, can art encourage sensitive and continuing engagement and increase greater use and appreciation of foetal and neonatal specimens?
The focus of this presentation will be on the artistic involvement and artwork that was formed as a result of the research rather than the analytic data. It will include the showing of a 6-minute film of a large audio-visual installation piece made directly as a result of the project.
The Body in Pieces – Pascale Pollier
Casting body parts for the sole purpose of making an artwork is understandably frowned upon as ethically wrong and taboo. But if seen in another light I do believe the human cadaver can become a study object for the artist, and if treated properly, with due respect for the deceased, the ethical integrity can remain intact.
As an artist, my personal quest took me from scientific wonder through anatomical research in dissection and autopsy rooms, labs and operating theatres, to functional medical illustration and back to conceptual art.
With this talk I will try to document the process from casting organs, such as the heart and the brain, through to the finished sculpture. The casts of these organs are very much the starting point of my work and they are the reference material from which I draw my inspiration. I know of no other artistic experience that comes anywhere close to the intense emotion one feels in holding someone’s heart or brain in the knowledge that they were once imbued with the vital spark of life. It is a privilege indeed to witness the beauty of these visceral structures and textures and colours in all their splendour.
I will illustrate my odyssey through the body with examples of my work and examples of the specimens I used. I will also explain the process involved in life casting and casting organic materials.
Artists in the 21st-Century Dissection Room – Emily Evans BSc PGCE MMAA RMIP
We are living in a time in which anatomical images have never been so prevalent throughout society; artists are banging at the doors of dissection rooms to be granted the opportunity to draw inspiration from cadaveric material directly. Regulating this access is, however, an area that differs from one dissection room to another, with potentially dramatic consequences. In this talk I will discuss the act of body bequeathal to medical science and my experience of this process at Cambridge University. I will also open up a discussion on the ethics of allowing artists into the dissection room, and the considerations and permissions that could be proposed to reflect a greater respect of donors.
Dr. Lucy Lyons investigates drawing as a phenomenological activity that evidences experience and communicates knowledge in medical sciences. Her PhD involved used drawing to investigate the breadth of experiences of FOP. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen her research investigated experiences of ageing in a medical museum context through drawing practice. She coordinated “Drawing Parallels: artistic encounters with pathology” at Barts Pathology Museum and is currently artist-in-residence at Ipswich Museum. She is a lecturer in drawing research and painting at City & Guilds of London Art School, visiting lecturer at Imperial College London where she teaches visual note taking for surgeons and a member of the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain.
Pascale Pollier’s work attempts to capture the point where art and science meld. An alchemist at heart, her work begins with observation and experimentation, and is steeped in solid scientific research and findings. She studied fine art and Painting in Belgium, and subsequently a postgraduate training with the Medical Artists Association in London. She is co-founder and president of BIOMAB (Biological and Medical Art in Belgium) , she is curating and organising exhibitions, dissection drawing classes, collaborative art/science projects and conferences. In 2015 she became co founder and president of ARSIC “Art Researches Science International Collaborations , an international collective where Art and Science become entangled. Pascale was an external examiner for the medical art course at The Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification, University of Dundee, and is President of AEIMS . Pascale currently lives and works in London as a self-employed artist; artem-medicalis.
Emily Evans is an Anatomist and Medical illustrator. Alongside running her business as a Medical Illustrator in London since 2005, Emily is also Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy at Cambridge University, UK. Additionally, Emily is the author and illustrator of ‘Anatomy in Black’, owner and designer at Anatomy Boutique, Artist in Residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York, and a Member of the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain, the Anatomical Society and the Institute of Anatomical Sciences. She guest writes for Street Anatomy and Morbid Anatomy and regularly gives talks about the use of anatomy in contemporary art practice.