Elizabeth Hallam, Research Associate, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford

Human anatomy in 3D: materials, models and design

As part of on-going research that develops an anthropology of 3D modelling, this paper explores the design and making of models in medical education and surgical training. Asking how knowledge of human anatomy is generated in medical schools, the paper focuses collaborative and imaginative modelling practices with materials such as plastics and wood. It also examines the ways in which bodies of the dead are used and transformed when the human body is modelled in order to produce and communicate anatomical knowledge and surgical skills. The paper draws on an exhibition, Designing Bodies: Models of Human Anatomy from 1945 to Now, which was guest curated by the author at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, in London, during 2015-16.

Elizabeth Hallam is a Research Associate in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen. Her research and publications focus on the anthropology of the body; death and dying; material and visual cultures; histories of collecting and museums; the anthropology of anatomy; three-dimensional modelling and mixed-media sculpture. Her recent books include Medical Museums: Past, Present, Future (co-edited with Sam Alberti, 2013), Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts (co-edited with Tim Ingold, 2014), and her monograph Anatomy Museum: Death and the Body Displayed (Reaktion, 2016).

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