Med in Art

The Pathology of BODY WORLDS Vital_Collaborative Project_November 2014

BODY WORLDS Vital made its UK debut at Newcastle’s Centre For Life this year, displaying Dr Gunther Von Hagens plastinated human bodies exploring the physiology of human health and wellness.

The Pathology of BODY WORLDS Vital, includes the collective work of the visual artist Rachael Allen and three local Histopathologies and will fuse art and science engagement, inviting exhibition visitors to explore what the bodies can teach us about disease through histopathology; the examination of human tissue in order to study the manifestations of disease, using sophisticated microscopes and a clinically trained eye. The project has been funded by the Royal College of Pathologist thorough their Public Engagement Innovation Grant Scheme and generously supported by the Centre For Life. The aims of the project and culminating public events are to primarily engage exhibition visitors with the practice of histopathogy as it relates to the diseases exhibited in BODY WORLDS Vital, raise awareness of disease as both a scientific study and human experience, and most importantly, develop science communication skills of pathologists and awareness of the wider science engagement community.

Rachael Allen describes in more detail about the collaborative project and culminating events:

“As a visual artist and researcher of anatomy and human sciences residing in the city, this presented the perfect opportunity to consolidate my experiences of science communication thus far, and propose innovative ways of engaging Life visitors with one of the most controversial human exhibitions of all time. A calling some would say, having spent the past 3 years researching anatomical sciences and spending most of my working week as a visual artist inside the anatomy lab or engrossed in the study of disease, illness, decomposition and death (

In this phase of the project (the very beginning!) we envisage that The Pathology of BODY WORLDS Vital will focus on both microscopic (cellular) and macroscopic (gross examination) approaches to histopathology. Myself as artist and the histopathologists will illustrate information on, and generate discussions about, the journey of human tissue in pathology – from retrieval to observation to diagnosis to medical reaserch – and it will be explored in its scientific, clinical and personal context – the microscope, the patient body, the diagnosis – to generate awareness of its breadth of application and importance to everyday health.

If you haven’t already visited BODY WORLDS Vital, or you feel compelled to see it again, the show is running till 30th November (Life Science Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne) ( with The Pathology of BODY WORLDS Vital events taking place on Wednesday 26th, Thursday 27th and Saturday 29th November (times to be confirmed on the blog).”

For more information about the exhibition, click HERE.
screen shot of pathology blog