This blog encompasses my interest in various art forms as well as though-provoking scientifc and technological changes that are currently taking place.

Inspiration from the abstract at the Royal Academy — November 12, 2016

Inspiration from the abstract at the Royal Academy


It is strange to think that when I first started my art course in the autumn of 2011, people were seriously having debates about whether painting had a future. Of course, in truth, artists had never stopped painting but students seemed to be doing it in rather an apologetic way.  I met people who worried that painting pictures of recognisable things was not really contemporary.  Equally, abstract art was not seen as the answer either;  why that had had its heyday with the Abstract Expressionists and was well and truly over. There was nothing more to say, it was implied. Conceptual art ruled.

I was not convinced.  In the summer of 2012 I wrote a post about my disappointment that in one Art and Design Degree Show, there was not a single painting to be seen; it was at the same time as cave paintings were being attributed to  Neanderthals…

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Does Addiction to Books Lead to Accidental Plagiarism? —

Does Addiction to Books Lead to Accidental Plagiarism?


By Rose Scott

When talking about plagiarism in academia, the cases that require citation seem to be quite obvious: Whenever you refer to someone else’s idea or statement, give proper credit to the author. But do these attribution rules remain the same for you as a writer? This is where doubts creep in for many.

One of the reasons for these doubts is that writers do tend to read a lot. The deeper they dive into researching some issues, the more engaging their writings become. Without this, we simply wouldn’t have so much pleasure exploring witty parallelisms, profound metaphors, or striking allusions. As William Faulkner once said once said, “Any experience the writer has ever suffered is going to influence what he does, and that is not only what he’s read, but the music he’s heard, the pictures he’s seen.”

Basically, the influence described by Faulkner is what may lead…

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What Would Shakespeare Do? — September 29, 2016

What Would Shakespeare Do?

I recently read an article written for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare. As one might imagine, it describes how Shakespeare would react and say to the world around us today. It is and interesting which describes Shakespeare’s immense popularity and his ability to both side of the same topic in his various different works. You can read the entire article here.

Art in pens at the Tate — September 22, 2016

Art in pens at the Tate


Initial fear of crowds combined with the summer holidays meant that I have only just made it to the new Tate extension. I wanted to see the Georgia O’Kieffe exhibition before it closed. It was excellent, though for me  it failed in its stated objective to dispel the cliches about her work, by which I presumed they meant the entirely understandable tendency to consider her paintings as tending towards the erotic. On coming out, I crossed the upper bridge, relieved the that the balustrade was high enough to counteract the vertigo inducing view of the Turbine Hall, took in an interesting room devoted to  Louise Bourgeois and worked my way down the wide staircase.

On the whole I was impressed with the space, though the decision to leave the wood on the stairs unsealed seemed odd; three months in and there are already thousands of stains. As I progressed down…

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The Medicalization of Death in History —

The Medicalization of Death in History

The Chirurgeon's Apprentice


When the Black Death swept through Europe in the 14th century, it claimed the lives of over 75 million people, many of who were clergymen whose job it was to help usher the dying into the next world. In response to the shortage of priests, the Ars Moriendi (Art of Dying) first emerged in 1415. This was a manual that provided practical guidance to the dying and those who attended them in their final moments. These included prayers and prescribed rites to be performed at the deathbed, as well as illustrations and descriptions of the temptations one must overcome in order to achieve a “good death.”

From the medieval period onwards, the dying were expected to follow a set of “rules” when facing the final moments of their lives, which included repentance of sins, forgiving enemies, and accepting one’s fate stoically without complaint.  It was each person’s duty to die a righteous death.


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The Cutter’s Art: A Brief History of Bloodletting —

The Cutter’s Art: A Brief History of Bloodletting

The Chirurgeon's Apprentice

V0011195 An ill man who is being bled by his doctor. Coloured etching

When King Charles II suffered a sudden seizure on the morning of 2 February 1685, his personal physician had just the remedy. He quickly slashed open a vein in the king’s left arm and filled a basin with the royal blood. Over the next few days, the king was tortured by a swarm of physicians buzzing around his bedside. They gave enemas and urged him to drink various potions, including boiled spirits from a human skull. The monarch was bled a second time before he lapsed into a coma. He never awoke.

Even without his doctors’ ministrations, the king may well have succumbed to whatever ailed him, yet his final days were certainly not made any easier by the relentless bloodletting and purging. By the time of Charles II’s death, however, bloodletting was standard medical practice.

Bloodletting dates back to the Roman physician, Galen, who lived in the 2nd century…

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Mangling the Dead: Dissection, Past & Present —

Mangling the Dead: Dissection, Past & Present

The Chirurgeon's Apprentice


I never feel more alive than when I am standing among the rows and rows of anatomical specimens in medical museums around London. In one jar floats the remains of an ulcerated stomach; in another, the hands of a suicide victim. Cabinets are filled with syphilitic skulls, arthritic joints, and cancerous bones. The unborn sit alongside the aged; murderers occupy the same space as the murdered.

D3As a medical historian, I have a professional interest in these collections as part of my ongoing research into the early history of surgery. Occasionally, however, I catch a glimpse of veins and arteries dangling from a severed wrist—or the bloated face of a child who died long ago—and I reflect on the actual surgeons and anatomists who cut up these dead bodies. How did they overcome the emotional and physical realities of dissection? And how do contemporary experiences in the dissection room compare with those from…

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