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Bringing art and medicine together under one roof

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Published on 11 August 2022

Professor Debs Patten and Abbey Anson
Professor Debs Patten and Abbey Anson

Art and medicine have come together in a new exhibition space at the University of Sunderland – but it is artwork that has been created exclusively for young doctors in training.

The University’s new state of the art Anatomy Centre offers student doctors both digital approaches to anatomy and hands-on experience with real anatomical specimens.

Debs Patton, Professor of Anatomy at the University, said: “We wanted to create an attractive and quiet room for visitors and our students. It is not uncommon for students to be overwhelmed by the notion of death and, so we wanted to provide a restful and tranquil place for quiet counselling and contemplation.

“We suggested that the artwork should depict human anatomy that is easily recognisable, but that it should include some of the complex and intricate detail that cadaveric anatomy provides. Importantly, we also wanted the art to be representative of the incredible gift from our donors and their families to our learners within healthcare education.”

The Anatomy Team approached Sunderland students to create artworks for the new quiet space, and eventually chose two winners, Marco Goncalves and Abbey Anson.

Abbey, 21, from Newcastle has just graduated from the University with her Glass and Ceramics degree, and created three beautiful pieces of glass art for the new Anatomy Centre, based on the human body and the gift of life.

“I was inspired by the human body, humanity and the ability to connect,” says Abbey. “The artworks show the connection between those who have donated and the people they are helping in the future.”

Professor Patten added: “Abbey’s work is and an important acknowledgement of our gratitude to our donors and their families.”

The artwork was supported by donors and funds from the University Development Trust.

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