A Reforming Anatomy Series

What is Health?  Perspectives from Contemporary Art & Medicine

“Health is the complete state of social, mental and physical wellbeing, not just the absence of disease or infirmity.” — World Health Organisation

This series of three events will explore the intersection of contemporary art and medicine, synthesising science’s investment in objectivity and the arts’ focus on subjectivity to illuminate the conditions of human life.  The events will be connected through a central discussion of ‘what is health?’, considering its mental, social, and physical dimensions.  Under this broad remit, we will debate questions such as ‘in what ways, and to what extent, can contemporary art support medical care?’; ‘how is health conceptualised in contemporary art and medicine, and how might these definitions become more complementary?’; and ‘how can we foster further collaborations between creatives and physicians, to support innovation and progress in the arts and medical practice?’.

Inspiring a collaborative and engaging atmosphere, the events will consist of dynamic and multifaceted programmes incorporating keynote talks, performances, short film screenings, and contemporary art exhibitions.

Each event will focus on one aspect of wellbeing.  Our first conference, on November 28th, will explore the relationship between creativity and mental wellbeing.  The second event in the series will take place around 6 months’ later, and will consider the interconnections between contemporary art, the climate crisis, and social wellbeing.  The third and final event will explore the role of anatomical study in contemporary art and medicine, and will debate issues and ideas pertaining to health and the body.


1) What is Mental Health?  Perspectives from Contemporary Art & Medicine.

Date: November 28th 2019.

Venue: The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE.


Our first event in the series will illuminate and debate conceptions of mental health in contemporary art and medicine through lectures from leading academics and professionals, lively interdisciplinary debates, and a performance from the Corali Dance Company.

The conversation will be drawn together through an assessment of two common but opposing views:

  • That levels of creativity are commensurate with risk of suffering from psychological illness;
  • And that art constitutes an effective mode of treatment for mental health disorders.

Through questioning these two perspectives, we will work towards reaching a conclusion on the relationship between the arts, mental wellbeing and holistic clinical practice.




Registration, welcome drink, and short film screening



Welcome address from Reforming Anatomy



‘Try a Little Tenderness: Madness and Artful Caring’

Dr Anna Harpin, Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of Warwick



‘Mental Health and the Arts’

Errol Francis, CEO of Culture&



Tea and coffee break



‘Communicating Chronic Pain in the Clinical Consultation’

Deborah Padfield, Visual Artist and Teaching Fellow, The Slade School of Fine Art



‘The Application of Neuroscientific Research in Architectural Design Practice’

Kenny Sheppard, Trained Architect and Artist



Panel Discussion



Performance from Corali





Reforming Anatomy: The Interplay between Art & Surgery

Our inaugural conference took place at the Royal Society of Medicine on the 24th September 2017.

See our programme below:

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 15.48.25.png


An Introduction to Embroidery & Suturing: 23/02/17

The Royal Free Pathology Museum, London

See more photos our Facebook


Photography: Craig Reilly (2017)