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From drawing to digitization: performance, skill and knowledge in biomedical imagery

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Kwint
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a three year PhD Studentships in the Centre for Art, Architecture and Design at the University of Portsmouth.

In the biological and medical sciences, drawing has long been important to processes of observation, communication and conceptualization, and also for training students and demonstrating the expertise of the master scientist. However, in the age of rapid, powerful digital imaging techniques, what is the current value of drawing in the scientific laboratory and classroom?

Our interest in this question was informed partly by research into the views of medical students at King’s College, London, to evaluate their experiences of anatomy classes using human tissue specimens. They were impressed by the possession and command of these rare materials by an authoritative and skilled anatomist, who is often able to ‘perform’ his or her knowledge by making lucid drawings on a board or flipchart.

A historically informed investigation of the role of drawing in selected current areas of the biological and medical sciences could help to inform debates about the relationship of art and science, and, more specifically, build upon insights into the effectiveness of ‘embodied knowledge’ in science teaching and research. It may also be of relevance to the growing field of research into the practices of science and technology.

The supervisors have a record of successful and innovative research collaboration in the visual culture and history of neuroscience.

This is an interdisciplinary project, and applications are welcome from candidates with a broad variety of relevant backgrounds, whether in the arts, humanities, sciences or social sciences. However, awareness and understanding of salient themes and debates within art, design, visual culture in science and its histories (particularly drawing) would be an asset. The University and supervisors could offer the successful candidate advice and support for an application for further funding.

How to apply:
Applications for the studentships should include:
• a full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application
• contact details for TWO referees able to comment on your academic performance
• a statement of 1,000 words outlining your suitability for the specific studentship selected.

Applications can be submitted electronically to:
[Email Address Removed]

or by post to:
CCi Admissions, Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Portsmouth, Mercantile House, Hampshire Terrace, Portsmouth PO1 2EG

Funding Notes

University tuition fees for home/EU students will be fully covered. Home/EU applicants are eligible for full fee funding; overseas applicants will be expected to pay for the fee difference between international and home/EU students.


Elkins, J. (Ed.). (2007). Visual practices across the university. Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.

Kwint, M. (2010). Desiring structures: the dendritic form revisited. In A. Filippoupoliti, (Ed.). Science exhibitions: curation and design (pp. 239-267). Edinburgh: Museums Etc.

Kwint, M. & Wingate, R. (2012). Brains: the mind as matter. London: Wellcome Collection.

Wingate, R. & Kwint, M. (2006, September). Imagining the brain cell: the neuron in visual culture. Nature reviews: neuroscience, 7(9), 745–752.

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