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Maggie Hammond: Developing medical insight using visual arts. Slides from the University of Liverpool Learning and Teaching Conference 2009.
Visual arts have been used effectively to help medical students develop observational, interpretive and descriptive skills. This project utilized the expertise of trained art educators and the galleries of Tate Liverpool to devise and pilot a single-day programme for medical students to explore ways of using art to consciously teach an awareness of intuition and the value of subjectivity: to develop ‘seeing’ as not only the observation of physical signs and symptoms, but also an awareness of person and context, emotional elements and narrative; to enhance students’ personal awareness of bias in interpretation and response, to art and to patients; to engage students in the use of emotional language, and to focus on visual thinking. Twenty medical students participated in one of two days. Feedback was received from 75% via email; six students took part in a focus group discussion. Data were analysed using grounded theory. The results of the analysis and plans for future developments will be discussed.