A Picture of Health

The MRC LMS and Central Saint Martins (CSM) are bringing together researchers and artists to collaboratively respond to the phrase “A Picture of Health”.

“A Picture of Health”, pioneered by Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, aims to use art-science to explore what “A Picture of Health” means to society today.

Why “A Picture of Health”?

What “A Picture of Health” looks like invokes different ideas, thoughts, and feelings for different people, providing a unique insight into how different individuals across a cross-section of society perceive ‘health’. As part of the project, we invited a range of people from the public to send in their interpretation of “A Picture of Health”. Contributions came from a cross-section of society including healthcare workers, shopkeepers, bakers, scientists, artists, and our LMS staff, and well known faces including the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, author Ben Okri, playright Willy Russell and many more.

These contributions have been curated into a book that includes photographs, paintings, poems, and more remarkable artistic interpretations of “A Picture of Health”. Three book launch events will be held in January 2023 to celebrate the opening of the new MRC LMS building. These events will showcase the contributions and feature panel discussions.

By Dr Jerry Yi Chang

“A Picture of Health” Workshop

In June 2019, we hosted our “A Picture of Health” workshop to begin to understand how the public interpreted this phrase by focusing on six key themes, guided by the MRC Spotlights: Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection; Artificial intelligence and Big Data; Diet and Lifestyle; Environment and Ageing, Genetics and Assistive Technologies; Mental Health and Dementia.

The workshop started with a workshop full of thought-provoking talks from researchers from a range of institutions. In the second half of the workshop, scientists, artists, and creative facilitators gathered for a facilitated discussion to explore how these six themes could be depicted through art.

“A Picture of Health” Exhibition

Five of the co-created artworks were selected and showcased at a pop-up exhibition at Elephant West in White City as a culmination of the pilot phase. The artworks were used as a communication and programming tool where local community groups were invited along to the exhibition to engage with the artworks.  

The artists received engagement training so that they could discuss the art and the research behind it with community groups and the wider public. This “A Picture of Health” pop-up became part of a more varied program of activities at the Science Museum. 

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