‘Thinking with your hands’ at The Art Workers’ Guild

Textile work by Sonia Tuttiet

On the 18th March, King’s Dental Institute was invited to participate once more in the second ‘Thinking with your hands’ event at the historic Art Workers’ Guild, Queen’s Square London.

Past Master of the Guild, artist and potter Prue Cooper together with Professor Roger Kneebone, surgeon and clinical educator from Imperial College who is also a Wellcome engagement Fellow, Director of the Centre for Performance Science at Imperial and is himself a Brother of the Guild and Rachel Warr, theatre director and puppeteer, once again hosted the proceedings.

Through interactions, demonstrations and discussions between many expert craftspeople including jewelers, silversmiths, glass engravers, textile artists, tailors and others who one wouldn’t necessarily expect to find along side them; scientists and surgeons including colorectal surgeons, design engineers, toxicologists, computational biologists, ENT, a plastic surgeon and KCL dentist and clinical teacher, Dr Flora Smyth Zahra, the invited audience of university academics, politicians and Heads of UK Art Institutions were surprised at the many similarities in both the doing and the thinking between these apparently unrelated areas of expertise and with the idea that craftsmanship is equally as important in surgery and science as it is to the Arts.

Textile work by Sonia Tuttiet
‘Diabetic Eye’  by Sonia Tuttiet

The Master’s room this year showcased the work of painter and textile artist Celia Ward and members of East London Textile Arts, notably the work of Sonia Tuttiet. Leading on from their project on diabetes, East London Textiles are now working on a new partnership with the Dental Institute to communicate oral health information about gum disease to adults with learning disabilities in Newham. Dr Zahra was joined in the Master’s room by Zujajah Mirza and Annika Hindocha, both 4th year dental students from the Clinical Humanities programme, to help launch the project which will be fully exhibited in 2018. The students are providing their expertise to the East London Textile Arts project workers who will then be making textiles with groups of adults with learning disabilities. This type of outreach community project is a great example of Clinical Humanities in practice and many of the audience commented on the value of the students’ engagement with the community, sharing their knowledge, reaching out to London and at the same time widening their own learning opportunities.

For more information about the Clinical Humanities programme, please visit the programme’s information page. The London Office thanks Dr Flora Smyth Zahra for her support and this report. 

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