Excellence and innovation in the arts

November 26, 2007

Queen Mary, University of London. Performing Medicine, which brings together medicine and drama, was established a year ago, and it has since programmed and delivered more than 40 different arts-based workshops within the medical school curriculum at leading medical schools. These include Barts, King's College London and Imperial College London.

The workshops use theatre and performance to teach medical students how to use their bodies and voices more effectively when dealing with patients and colleagues. They also introduce students to use of the arts in healthcare settings and raise the possibility of using the arts as a platform to discuss cultural issues relevant to healthcare, such as identity, sexuality and cultural sensitivities.

The collaborative venture brings together theatre and performance company The Clod Ensemble, the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London, and Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry. It is one of a kind in the UK.

"I was very impressed with the way Queen Mary's had used arts to make an innovative contribution to the training of doctors," said judge Tom Shakespeare, a member of the national council of the Arts Council and chairman of Arts Council England, North East. "This represents a combination of great partnership, practical benefit and creativity, and it stood out as distinctive from the very good set of submissions from other universities."

Fellow judge Sir Christopher Frayling, the chairman of Arts Council England, described the winning entry as "an outstanding example of art and higher education joining forces, with benefit to both sides". He called it "a superb achievement - just what the awards are for".

Another judge, Althea Efunshile, executive director of arts planning and investment at Arts Council England, said: "It is very rewarding to see that the majority of entrants have received support from the Arts Council. We are committed to partnerships that encourage excellence and innovation in the arts and will continue to work regionally and nationally to develop collaborations between the higher educational and arts sectors."

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