Learning To Look: a photography course for medical students

“It has made me look, listen and think. Alerted all my senses to hopefully make me a better doctor…”

Learning to Look was located in the Brighton & Sussex Medical School. In conjunction with the Brighton Photo Biennial, LearnHigher and Inqbate CETLs funded a photography course designed to develop medical students’ observation skills. The course used the practice and theory of photography to explore the connections between the skills needed to practice medicine, particularly diagnosis, and those needed to produce photographs. Students were encouraged to analyse the relationship between medicine and art, and to recognise the transferability of their skills across both fields.

Taught by a professional photographer, students took photographs and learned black and white darkroom developing and printing skills in practical workshop sessions. They analysed photographs in terms of aesthetics, personal and social context and their relationship to medicine. They contributed to discussions in critical seminar sessions that explored the role of creativity and observation in photography and medicine. The evaluation report on the pilot includes examples of students work and their commentaries on what they learned:

FINAL REPORT OF LEARNING TO LOOK PILOT (with appendices)-265r1s6

The project also inspired an exhibition and a national seminar on “The Role of the Visual Arts in Developing Clinical Skills (programme below)

LTL PhotoBiennial exhibition text panels

The role of the visual arts seminar programme

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