Tag Archives: Jenny Wright

The Art of Surgical Practice

CCW PhD student Jenny Wright is giving a talk with her clinical supervisor Neil Shah on ‘The Art of Surgical Practice’ as part of the War Requiem and Aftermath events at Somerset House on 19 May at 5pm.

Wright is an artist whose work involves collaborative practice with surgeons, medical students and scientists. She is studying the haptic nature of drawing and medical practice and collaborates with Neil Shah, Senior Fellow of the Head and Neck Optical Diagnostics and Intervention Society. Mr Shah is a consultant oral & maxillofacial surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, and his research interests include the relationship between art, anatomy and surgery.

pencil drawing of a tumour removed from a neck showing incision marks, 12 x 12 cm, Jenny Wright

pencil drawing of a tumour removed from a neck showing incision marks, 12 x 12 cm, Jenny Wright

Discussing her contribution to the talk, Wright said, ‘I have been researching drawing practices with surgeons for some years, initially for an MA and now for a PhD at CCW. As part of my research I have been working closely with maxillofacial, dental and ophthalmic surgeons, and I found that drawing is a common practise for rehearsal, preparation and record keeping in all these surgical specialties.

From making drawings during operations and many discussions with surgeons I became interested in finding ways in which drawing and surgical practices could be integrated to develop and support key skills useful in extending areas of medical education, as well as be part of my fine art practice. Mr Neil Shah is a consultant maxillofacial surgeon who first trained as a dentist. It was through him that I was introduced to the work of dental surgeons at Kings College. Kings College Dental Institute combines practical clinical training with a virtual learning system called hapTEL, which I was allowed to integrate into some of my research.

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Studio work analysis of movements made by surgeon, suturing sumi ink on paper, 45 x 55 cm, Jenny Wright


As part of the cultural events around Maggi Hambling: War Requiem and Aftermath, Mr Shah and I were invited to give a talk about the dialogue we have developed using drawing as a research and educational tool with particular reference to facial reconstruction. We will be discussing how drawings can be used and made in theatre. I will be showing some of the images I made of head and neck operations that record surgical interventions. These will include common surgical practices used in removal of tumours and reconstruction of facial features.

Although the talk is primarily aimed at medics, due to the nature of some of the images that may be shown, this is a great opportunity to continue and develop work across disciplines and between research departments in different Universities.’

As the Gordon Museum is not open to the general public, access to this event is restricted to certain groups on production of an appropriate ID card, which includes Medical Public (ie the suitably qualified or those in training). Full details can be found here. If unsure, please contact sophie.cornell@kcl.ac.uk. This is a special opportunity to join experts in the fields of surgery and art in the unique setting of the Gordon Museum of Pathology at King’s, to include a guided tour of this extraordinary collection from Museum Curator Bill Edwards.

Top image: from theatre sketchbook analysis of scalpel marks on neck made during op on carotid tumour, pencil on paper, 12 x 15 cm, Jenny Wright

UKIERI Thematic Partnership at Wimbledon College of Art

The works realised during the March 2014 UKIERI Thematic Partnership workshop in Hyderabad will be on view in the main building of Wimbledon College of Art until 12 September 2014. These works are the result of a joint research project between Wimbledon College of Arts and the University of Hyderabad exploring The Means of Performance in the Digital Age. Jane Collins, Simon Betts and Douglas O’Connell from Wimbledon, together with CCW PhD students Jenny Wright and Vanessa Saraceno, collaborated with students at the Fine Arts and Theatre departments of the S. N. School of Art and Communication of Hyderabad.

The UKIERI thematic partnership investigates the impact of ‘new media’ on performance in India and the UK, bringing together two recognised centres of excellence to create a cross-cultural research platform at the inter-face of fine art and theatre. Using the ‘scenographic’ as a frame of reference, a broad term that encompasses all the elements that contribute to the composition of performance, this joint research compares how digitalisation and electronic media have been absorbed into our respective performance cultures.

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Find out more about the UKIERI Thematic Partnership.

The Means of Performance in a Digital Age

CCW staff (Jane Collins, Simon Betts and Douglas O’Connell) and PhD students (Jenny Wright and Vanessa Saraceno) travelled to India for the second seminar, called The Means of Performance in a Digital Age, of the UKIERI Thematic Partnership between CCW and University of Hyderabad (the first seminar was held in September 2013). Once there, teams discussed the ‘materiality’ of production in digital age. The seminar considered the way new technologies are impacting on the ‘physical’ processes of making work and replacing the tangible materiality of wood, paint and metal. Wright and Saraceno led workshops at the seminar and have reflected on their experiences.

Wright said, ‘This work has links with part of my research into the development and use of drawing as a primal recording and learning skill. I am interested in the haptic, physical nature of drawing and how movement and the physical interaction with tools onto a surface is used both to record and to develop deeper cognition. My role as facilitator on the Fine Art drawing part of the UKIERI work helped me gather more evidence on the performative nature of drawing and its key role in communicating and developing abstract thought. Working alongside the excellent Fine Art team in Hyderabad  has led to discussions on supporting drawing within the art school curriculum across different fields. Our particular remit was developing work with digital theatre design. The MFA students I was working with in Hyderabad were really enthusiastic and open to extend and broaden their work into the digital realm, whilst also being true to the primal nature of drawing, in terms of gesture and mark making. I am certainly hoping to develop a long standing dialogue with the teaching staff at Hyderabad in terms of evolving drawing practice with students. I can also see many links being made with students at Wimbledon and Hyderabad, with a mutually enrichment of performative work in theatre and fine art drawing.’

Sarceno said,  ‘In my role as facilitator, I discussed with the students of the Theatre Department the case study of the artistic duo Claire Fontaine, formed by artists James Thornhill and Fulvia Carnevale. Claire Fontaine’s practice offers a perfect example of how to play with new media in order to further develop the potentialities of the performative gesture. Assisting the students in the development of their projects for the final exhibition, I have encouraged them to always consider the problematics of the specific context in which their performance take place, and to embody these problematics interweaving all the knowledge they have with the potentialities of a new artistic territory. The uniqueness of this project lies in its offering evident and incontestable results since its very beginning. Thanks to their rich cultural legacy, and a textured theatrical tradition, students at Sarojini Naidu School of Arts in Hyderabad have fully understood the potentialities of new media and were also keen to explore them further in relation to the political and cultural situation in India. Indeed, the titles of their projects -City of Trash; The Savage; Natural Disaster, to cite a few- refer to the status of life today in India. In their call for a different, more sustainable relation with the environment, the students have been able to employ new technologies not merely as a tool through which to look at the world, but as a path for a new sensorial dimension where to practice an alternative way of experiencing the world through the body.’

Ishu Kumar, a student from Sarojini Naidu School of Arts, also responded to the seminar, saying, ‘This workshop helped me break away from my notions of mainstream theatre and helped to view theatre and its methods in a different light. It allowed me to look at how different elements such as the projector, the body, as well as acting, can be combined together, as well as used alone to provide meaning to a performance. It also allowed to me understand a new language being developed in the field of theatre primarily due the advancements of postmodern world. This workshop helped me push the envelope in terms of my understanding of theatre. It helped me gain new view in terms of how a theatre production can be designed. It gave me a perspective which broadened my viewing and understanding of theatre.

‘The entire experience would help me in my future works. I am also keen on using the experience I gained in my future ventures and always keep in mind the possibilities of the digital media. I now have a clear understanding of how theatre and the digital media can work hand in hand with each other. I would also like to take the experimentation of theatre in new context further through my own future projects.’

Douglas O’Connell made a short film of the seminar.