Thoughts on “Reciprocity and Exchange in the Making of Medicine and the Modern Arts”

Cradle to Grave Poster From the Cradle to the Grave: reciprocity and exchange in the making of medicine and the modern arts. A one day meeting at Exeter University, 14th April, 2011.

This convivial one-day meeting lived up to its billing in that reciprocity and exchange between the practices of medicine and the concerns of the arts were fully in evidence. Discussion ranged from the value of the arts and humanities for better understanding and enhancing medical practices, to the use of arts-based practices to explore and critique experiences, assumptions and the politics of medical practice, to the creative engagement with medical domains to inspire both exploration and representation of being human.  My own curiosity was captured particularly by two types of encounter between medicine and the humanities. Emerging more from the field of medical practice come innovative and imaginative encounters with visual media, including the use of animation to enable personal explorations and expression by NHS service users and the exploitation of the comic strip and graphic novel genres to open up the grounding of medical practice in everyday human lives.  From the humanities and more specifically studies in literature, we heard of re-workings of the satirical form to critique the place of contemporary medicine and innovative explorations of form and style to resonate with the experiences of Alzheimer’s disease.

The academic presentations were complemented with a display of current activities by Devon-based arts organisations working in relation to health: Magic Carpet Arts, Flying Fish Artists, Double Elephant Print Workshop, Insider Art, and Petroc.

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