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Arts and Health

Students in the University Museum with portraits by Annemarie Busschers” and “Annemarie Busschers at work"
Students in the University Museum with portraits by Annemarie Busschers” and “Annemarie Busschers at work"

The arts are an important discipline within the discipline of medical humanities. Our people are involved in the University Medical Center’s medical humanities curriculum, in particular through the project “Patients and Paintings”. Health and wellbeing is also an important concern of the department’s research.


Patients and Paintings

Patients and Paintings (Chairgroup of Art History and University Museum) Looking at art sharpens your visual analytical skills and can make you a better doctor. Already in the late 1990s, the Yale and Harvard Universities offered programs in their museums for doctors and medical students to enhance visual literacy through art. But art can also foster empathy - another much-needed skill in medical care, for which there is only little time reserved in medical curricula. The face-to-face encounter with painted, sculpted or drawn human bodies allows you to experience how quickly you judge another human individual on the basis of beauty, ugliness, age, death, injury, gender, illness, or signs of disability and mutilation. Students learn how quickly they act upon intuitive judgments and how they can render their observations consciously and reflexively. For encounters to be effective, the actual material presence of art works is paramount: only the real thing can be observed, analyzed, understood and cared for, as if it were  - almost but not quite - a real person. Working together with contemporary artists and the Groninger Museum, we offer lectures and workshops within the Medicine in Context weeks to all bachelor students following the medical curriculum of the faculty of medical sciences to enhance visual literacy and empathic awareness through art.


Last modified:31 October 2022 12.48 p.m.