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Thursday 13th December 2007
News | Awards | PERFORMING MEDICINE WINS TIMES HIGHER AWARD 2007

Company: The Clod Ensemble
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Only in its second year, Performing Medicine has won the Times Higher Award 2007 for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts. The project has shown outstanding interdisciplinary collaborative practice and achievement in the higher education sector to win the award.

Performing Medicine was established as a project to research how arts can be used in the medical curriculum. It is a programme of courses, workshops and events that use the arts to provide training to medical students and practicing health professionals. The collaborative venture brings together theatre and performance company The Clod Ensemble, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the Department of Drama at Queen Mary, University of London.

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 a superb achievement". It has programmed and delivered more than 146 arts-based workshops in and around the medical curriculum at leading medical schools, including Barts and The London, Kings 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 the uses of arts in healthcare settings and use the arts as a platform to discuss cultural issues relevant to healthcare, such as identity, sexuality and cultural sensitivities.

The only initiative of its kind in the UK, Performing Medicine is delivered by a diverse team of acclaimed associate artists, including Bobby Baker, Rosetta Life, Split Britches, Dominic Johnson, Deborah Padfield and John Wright, working in a range of art forms including theatre, dance and photography. "Every undergraduate at the start of their clinical training should do this," said one participant during 2006-07.

It defeated competition from Leeds University, Nottingham Trent, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, University College for the Creative Arts and Warwick University.

Performing Medicine was featured twice in The Lancet "The uses of arts in medical training" by project founder Suzy Willson and was covered on More 4 News. The course is fast becoming a must-do for medical students, who are interested in their personal and professional development. Suzy Willson is keen to make this work part of the mainstream curriculum for all trainee medical students. "I would like to see every medical student have the opportunity to participate in arts courses as part of their training arts can help to develop important skills that can be directly applied in their clinical practise," said Willson.

 
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