International Journal of Art & Design Education

How Can Visual Arts Help Doctors Develop Medical Insight?

Volume 31.1   2012



This research project examines how using the visual arts can develop medical insight, as part of a pilot programme for two groups of medical students. It was a UK study; a collaboration between Liverpool and Glyndwr University's and Tate Liverpool's learning team. Tate Liverpool is the home of the National Collection of Modern Arts in the North of England and one of the largest galleries of modern and contemporary art outside London. The project adapted Tate Liverpool's Opening Doors course in devising and piloting a single day programme that engaged students in exploring perception, communication, emotion and narrative. Opening Doors introduces participants to modern and contemporary art and empowers them to work in new ways with groups and individuals.
The exercises used as part of the programme allowed us to observe what connections and interpretations were made, and to discuss with the participants what influenced student choice and decision making in relation to specific works of art.
This article will focus on the use of gallery education to highlight examples of contemporary culture to develop links between art and medicine, alongside the development of transferable skills. The study is of professional interest because it is using a cross-disciplinary approach, broadening the disciplines involved in teaching medical skills; and could form a model for further cross-curricular and cross-discipline work.