Art met science for ‘A Picture of Health’

 27 February 2020   Public Engagement

On 19 February art met science at the ‘A Picture of Health’ London LASER event at University of Arts London, Central Saint Martins (UAL: CSM).

The London LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) series are evening talks and discussions exploring the relationships between art and science.

The event had two parts each exploring the relationships between art, health and medical research. The first half ‘Art in Health | Health in Art’ explored the role of an artist in a health context and the place of personal experience and evidence based medical research within a wider fine art context. The talk from visual artist Susan Aldworth investigated her exploration of art in health culminating with the installation project ‘Out of the Blue’ which explores the experience of epilepsy. On display at Hatton Gallery 18 January-9 May 2020.

The second talk was from Nikki Crane a practitioner trained in dance whose career has included roles in arts strategy and funding. Including as Head of Arts Strategy at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. Nikki shared her experiences of working in partnership with artists, clinicians, researchers and local commissioners. Highlighting the increasing interest in arts, health and wellbeing approaches in policy as well as with participating groups. Such as the Creative Health report from All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Arts Health and Wellbeing. Now at King’s College London Nikki is developing their vision for arts and health including supporting the delivery of ‘SHAPER’ (Scaling-up Health-Arts Programmes: Implementation and Effectiveness Research), the world’s largest study into the impact of arts on physical and mental health.

The second half of the evening explored the collaborative Picture of Health pilot project. The audience heard from Jenna Stevens-Smith (Head of Communications and Engagement), Lucy Brown (Creative Producer and Project Manager) and participating artists and scientists from the project. The 6-month project which culminated with a pop-up exhibition at Elephant West, White City in November brought artists and scientists together to explore key areas of medical research.

Students from MA Art and Science and MA Fine Art courses at UAL: CSM engaged with medical scientists working on a range of themes, including: Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection; Artificial Intelligence and Data Science; Environment and Health; Mental Health; and Sleep. The artists created interpretations of ‘A Picture of Health’ in response to these vital areas of current research. Building upon this pilot Picture of Health will be expanded in the Summer and will culminate with the opening of the new MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences building in 2022.

Participating artists were: Phil Barton, Lois Bentley, Lottie Bolster, Teresa Byrne, Mariana Heilmann, Laura Madeley, Rowan Riley, Riko Yasumiya and Rose Mengmei Zhou and they were joined by some of the participating scientists: Jonny Jackson and Sibylle Ermler.

You can read more about the project here: