Crafting Medicine: A Sensory Exploration of Three Medical Schools

Rachel Vaden Allison, Anna Harris, John Nott, and Andrea Wojcik Maastricht University
Posted: August 6, 2020

Medical school panoramas. From top to bottom: Semmelweis University (Budapest, Hungary), Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology; the University for Development Studies (Tamale, Ghana), skills classroom; Maastricht University (Maastricht, the Netherlands), ‘Skillslab’. Photographs: Rachel Vaden Allison, Andrea Wojcik, and Anna Harris. 2017-2018.
This Making and Doing project plays with the notion of ‘simulation’ and ‘comparison’, by offering a sensorially-immersive (online) installation that attends to the affective atmospheres, materials, and multisensory and embodied knowledge entailed in the fieldsites and practices of our research. We are three ethnographers and one historian on the European Research Council funded project ‘Making Clinical Sense’, which investigates the materiality of medical education in Ghana, Hungary, and the Netherlands. In all three sites, the simulation of patient bodies was used, in part, to help students’ bodies become more knowledgeable. Much like the educators in these three schools, we are interested in finding ways of educating bodies and communicating bodily knowledge—however, while medical educators attempt to reproduce medical practice, we explore the sensory reproduction of practices for academic consideration. Taking practices of comparison seriously, we create three sensory-immersive experiences, allowing space for visitors to do comparative work too. How might such simulation and comparison investigate and disrupt local narratives and global networks of knowledge production?

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