Call for Papers: Collect, Exchange, Display: Artistic Practice and the Medical Museum

6 June 2014 London, United Kingdom


For hundreds of years, medical collections have been sites of medical
and artistic exchange. Not only were many of their contents created by
artists and physicians, but the collections were also often compiled by
doctors, who were themselves artistes manqués. Although medical museums
have recently received attention in museological and historical studies,
they remain relatively ignored within art historical scholarship.

This one-day conference will look at the anatomical, pathological or
medical museum from the perspectives of art history and visual culture.
Artists have utilised these spaces for the study of anatomy and
pathology–as well as for ideas and inspiration–but what do we know about
the artists, photographers and craftsmen and women who have worked
within the museum? How can we theorise the collecting practices of the
doctors who founded and/or ran these museums? What influence did these
spaces and their contents have on artistic practice, visual
representation and the writing of art and medical histories? How does
the medical museum continue to play a role in contemporary art-making
and medical learning? From the wax modelers to the commissioning
physicians to the painters and sculptors who were inspired by its
contents, this conference will spark a dialogue about the artistry of
the medical museum.

We encourage papers on all visual aspects of the medical museum in any
country from the seventeenth century to the present, and welcome papers
from artists, curators and scholars from any discipline, as well as
medical professionals.

This one-day conference will take place on 6 June 2014 in the MacRae
Gallery of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

We anticipate publishing a selection of papers from the conference in an
edited anthology.

Paper Proposals are due: 15 January 2014

Please send a 250-word abstract, along with a short CV (no more than two
pages), to the conference organisers:

Dr Natasha Ruiz-Gómez
Lecturer in Art History in the School of Philosophy and Art History at
the University of Essex, [email protected]

Dr Mary Hunter
Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Art History and
Communication Studies at McGill University, [email protected]

This conference has been generously funded by the Wellcome Trust.