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SURGE II: bringing together healthcare technology researchers and postgraduate artists

SURGE II banner asset
  • Written byPost-Grad Community
  • Published date 06 April 2022
SURGE II banner asset
Image: Ceramic cell by Leonora Richardson

Post-Grad Community and Events Coordinator, Fred Kavanagh, reports on the launch of SURGE II

UAL’s Post-Grad Community, in collaboration with Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS), have launched SURGE II: a project bringing together scientists, artists, and the public to explore the complexities and application of technology in surgery.

With an emphasis on meaningful public engagement, up to 3 interdisciplinary partnerships will be commissioned to identify and explore themes with patient groups in workshop settings, facilitated by the artist. It is from these conversations that creative outputs will be made over the next 6 months, culminating in a collaborative showcase at UAL, coordinated by Post-Grad Community.

Creating partnerships

8 postgraduate artists and 4 researchers gathered at WEISS’s building at University College London for an afternoon of discussion and ideation, identifying common grounds between the research within surgical technologies and its creative portrayal.

Participants at an event at UCL
Image: Post-Grad Community

To kick things off, each participant introduced themselves, their practice, and their urge to be part of SURGE II. The cross-disciplinary nature of the project was unveiled. Artists were picked from courses in Art Direction and Performance Design, right through to Photography and Data Visualisation, all with the ambition of being mediators between the science and public.

The strength of WEISS’ engineering and clinical sciences is demonstrated in the work being carried out by the clinicians and computer scientists taking part in the project. The communal drive to apply their practice in an accessible and personable manner to enrich the patient experience, lays the foundations for which the artists can meaningfully contribute and make the often invisible, visible – pain, recovery, trauma, movement.

By creating these partnerships and integrating each respective discipline, patient groups will have the space to holistically unpack their experiences and inform the collective journey.

What could an output look like?

For a disciplinary amalgamation to align, the space to learn from others and understand new perspectives is essential. Conversations and speculative research often will be the output.

However, looking back to last year’s SURGE I, commissioned projects concluded in 3D prototypes, creative patient support platforms and immersive virtual experiences. It is of significant note that partnerships from 2021 continue to work together alongside their own academic and professional commitments.

person wearing scientific arm mechanics
REHAP - Janet Choi (UAL) and Dr Tijana Vojinovic (UCL)

2022 will be the first year in which collaborative outcomes can be exhibited in person. The design and detail of the exhibition awaits to be informed by the mutual 3-way exchanges within each commissioned project.

In the meantime, continue to follow the activity of SURGE II across the Post-Grad Community channels.

Related links

UAL Post-Grad Community

Established in 2013, Post-Grad Community is an inclusive platform for all UAL postgraduate students to share work, find opportunities and connect with other creatives within the UAL and beyond. Find out more