Visual Literacy and Dermatology: From Natural History to Art History
Visual literacy - the ability to construct meaning from visual images - is a cornerstone of art history and of medical practice. This is particularly prominent in the case of the specialty of dermatology where diagnosis is often dependent on the “power of the glance”. The use of observation and the interpretation of such is also fundamental to the study of natural history. This lecture will describe how an understanding of natural history and of art are advantageous to the practising dermatologist and help to form an arts and science approach to the specialty. It will draw on the presenter’s personal experience, including: ornithology; the interpretation of artwork; the development and delivery of a visual literacy course for dermatologists in the UK and Europe; and how such a holistic arts and science approach is aiding the development of personalised medicine for skin disease.
About the speaker
Chris Griffiths decided on a career in Dermatology as a medical student in London when he realized that his childhood interests in natural history and art were the ideal primer for the specialty. Subsequently he trained in Dermatology in London and Michigan. He was appointed to the Foundation Chair in Dermatology at the University of Manchester in 1994 and is an honorary consultant dermatologist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. Chris has received many awards notably: the Sir Archibald Gray Medal, for outstanding service to British Dermatology; and OBE, for services to dermatology. He is a past-President of the British Association of Dermatologists; President of the European Society for Dermatological Research; and Editor-in-Chief of Rook’s Textbook of Dermatology. Chris has long-standing research interests in all aspects of psoriasis and skin ageing. He runs courses on art appreciation for clinicians and is active in global health initiatives including working in refugee camps and Co-Founding the Burma Skincare Initiative. In his spare time Chris tends a vineyard in North Wales.
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Event image: Detail of art gallery – photo by Sophie Vinetlouis on Unsplash