Lessons in Anatomy: Dissecting medicine and health through visual and literary arts

Title of project:

Lessons in Anatomy: Dissecting medicine and health through visual and literary arts


Name and institution of principle investigators:

Rachael Allen, visual artist and researcher

Dr Eleanor Holmes, GP, clinical educator and writer – pen name Eliot North


Names and institutions of co-investigators/ collaborators:


Funding sources:

a-n New Collaboration Bursary


Summary of research:

Rachael Allen joined forces with Dr Eleanor Holmes to investigate the creative potential for collaborative engagement across the visual and literary arts through the exchange of experiences as artist and writer, whilst exploring the interface between medicine, health, the arts and humanities. The bursary subsidised valuable time exploring each other’s creative disciplines and methodologies – drawing, sculpture, creative writing and teaching – and specific research interests – anatomy, pathophysiology, medical education, clinical practice and bioethics – to inspire new ideas for joint visual and literary outcomes.

“We met as strangers from very different worlds (medicine and art) with contrasting backgrounds and experiences (doctor and patient) but found common languages with which to negotiate our beliefs and perspectives on human health, morbidity and mortality. The collaboration created an intimate space for us to share our own narratives, life stories and emotions that surfaced through our interactions. We are now friends. Our unfolding conversations drive our ongoing ‘Lessons in Anatomy’, illuminating not only the relationship between the arts and medicine but also the fine line separating the dead and the living, doctor and patient, health and illness, as well as the relationship between two women with very different views and experiences of mortality.”

Project website/webpage:



Anticipated time frame of project:

November 2013 – July 2014


Anticipated audiences:

Medical Humanities scholars, visual artists, writers, General Practitioners


Would be interested in hearing from…

All interest in the project welcome – comments, contributions, research suggestions, funding opportunities.


Tagged as: 

Creative arts, collaboration, anatomy, pathology, medical education



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Posted on 22 Jul 2015, under Projects.