After a hectic few days preparation – from surveying artists who’ve worked at Medical Museion to cutting out 150 playing card sized images of art-science collaborations – I’m very much looking forward to the kick-off of The Future of Art Science Collaborations workshop at the Lorentz Center in Leiden tomorrow.

You can read a workshop description here, and we’ll be using the hashtag #fasc13 (after the usual surreal trawl around the menagerie of possible acronyms on twitter, this one appears to be a fairly blank slate…). I’m organizing sessions on Monday so may be a little scarce, but will be chirruping away from @lewhiteley after that. Social media-wise, I’m interested to see how I’ll be able to integrate twitter and virtual dialogue into a workshop containing more small group discussions than lengthy talks.

Participants will be archiving materials, making micro video posts, and blogging at the workshop website, and I’ll report back here.

I’m also looking (nervously) forward to talking at an associated public event on Thursday evening on art and artists in medical collections and what future collaborations might look like, hosted by Museum Boerhaave (if you’re ever in Amsterdam and haven’t been to the Boerhaave, jump on the train for a twenty minute ride to STEM collection heaven, and don’t miss the papier maché anatomical models by Louis Azoux). My co-presenter on Thursday is Manon Parry, who will talk about ‘strategies that may help museum audiences address disability and stigma, experiences of illness and aging (as well as caregiving), and death’, which I think will be an interesting and important counterpoint to my more general focus on the ways that art and artists seem to offer (partial) solutions to some of the challenges for medical museums posed by both contemporary biomedicine, and contemporary calls to engage publics in debate about it.

Inspiration in the archive

In preparing for the week, I’ve been inspired by looking back over reports from workshops at Museion and conference presentations by staff past and present touching on related topics, and thought I’d share a few here:

It’s Not What You Think: Communicating Medical Materialities, March 2013

The Sensuous Object, September 2011

Contemporary medical science and technology as a challenge to museums, EAMHMS, September 2010

A Series of blog posts by Thomas from his presentation at SLSA 2008 on ‘Why do museums want to bring art and science together’

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