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Durham University

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Previous Events

School of Medicine and Health Seminar - Anatomical design: making and using three-dimensional models of the human body by by Dr Elizabeth Hallam (Oxford University and University of Aberdeen)

3rd May 2011, 12:00 to 15:00, Room F009, Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Queen's Campus, Stockton, TS17 6BH

The School of Medicine and Health Seminar Series continues on the 3rd May 2011 with a paper presented by Dr Elizabeth Hallam (Oxford University and University of Aberdeen), entitled Anatomical design: making and using three-dimensional models of the human body.

This paper explores three-dimensional anatomical models in anthropological perspective, focusing on the social, cultural and material processes of design, making and use in contemporary contexts, and asking how models are put to work in generating and communicating of knowledge of the human body. The difficulties involved in studying and understanding the anatomy of living, moving, growing bodies with the use of models and visual images have been of major concern to anatomists and their associates, including technicians and artists. Which models are most effective in enabling medical students to visualise anatomy and why? What kinds of difficulties are encountered with models and how do the limitations of particular designs lead to their modification or the instigation of new ones? To address these questions this paper analyses how commercial plastic models are used in specific settings as well as models improvised in-house in medical-school workshops using diverse materials such as wire, wool, wood, paper and recycled objects. This provides insight with regard to the social dimensions of models in practice, the significance of materials, form and colour in perceptions of models, and the embodied interactions that give rise to anatomical design.

Dr Hallam is a Research Associate in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. Her research on material and visual culture currently focuses on museums of anatomy in medical schools in Scotland and England where she examines the collection, preservation and display of bodies from the mid-19th century to the present. How bodies have been rendered - in the flesh, in wax, paper and plastic, and through drawing, photography and film - in the pursuit of anatomical knowledge are issues explored in her forthcoming book, Anatomy Museum. Death and the Body Displayed, illustrated with specially commissioned photography.

Where and when:
The seminar will take place in the Wolfson Research Institute Seminar Room (F009) at 12.30pm. A buffet lunch will be available from 12 noon, so please come and join us for a relaxing, pre-seminar get-together, and an opportunity to talk informally with our guest. Please RSVP by 15th April for catering purposes.

Contact for more information about this event.