Art, Simulation and Surgical Humanities

Anaesthesia Awareness, (Spherical Projection, 2013): David Cotterrell

Funded by the AHRC, this project allowed a group of innovative artists, musicians, social scientists and surgeons to explore the creative potential around surgical simulation as an artistic medium. A multidisciplinary collaborative network has been established to generate innovative approaches, which, in addition to their own artistic value and interest, seek to offer important insights into the complex relationships between surgery and our wider society.

This pilot project took the unusual approach of challenging orthodoxies through interdisciplinary collaboration. The team explored the benefits to be gained by comparing disciplinary methodologies to challenge traditional limitations of communication and empathy. The core project group is led by David Cotterrell (Professor of Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam) and Roger Kneebone (Professor of Surgical Education, Imperial College London). Participants include Liam Noble (Royal College of Music), Gunther Kress (Institute of Education), Cian Plumbe and Matt Harrison (Royal College of Art & Studiohead) and Fernando Bello (Imperial College London).

Spherical Projection was an experiment in immersive filming produced in collaboration with Professor Roger Kneebone (Imperial College) and designers Cian Plumbe and Matthew Harrison. Cotterrell’s ongoing research into the relationship between representation and truth lead him to employ spherical filming techniques to consider the patient view during surgical procedures, which they might never consciously witness. It is one of a diverse range of outputs produced by group of artists, musicians, social scientists and surgeons exploring the creative potential for surgical simulation as a catalyst for debate concerning ethics, representation and empathy.

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