Patients as People

'From the woman who is ‘boiling over’, to the young man who has totally obliterated his own face, every photograph in this powerful exhibition stops us in our tracks with its raw communication of human emotion. “Some of the pictures show outward serenity - but the self-authored graffiti often tells another story. These photographs are a graphic reminder that every person’s health story is as unique and individual as they are and that every encounter with a health care professional is likely to be an unwelcome voyage into the unknown. This is essential viewing to reconnect us all to the core of our own humanity.' Justine Thompson Patient and Public Participation Lead Strategic Clinical Network and Senate (East of England).


Primum Non Nocere


'Primum Non Nocere' is a Latin phrase derived from the first precepts of bioethics and is taught as the fundamental principle in medical schools throughout the world. Emma Barnard's work was developed through collaborations with consultant surgeons and their patients offering an inside view of real life experience and observations whilst giving patients a visual voice through the touring exhibition 'Patients As People', and reflecting on some of the harsh realities people endure in their pursuit of “getting better”.


Emma Barnard's work expands on the air of mystery surrounding the surgeon’s practice. What goes on in the operating theatre is usually unknown to the patient, who must have trust in the theatrical performance, the surgeon's medical act. However, the surgeons, what kind of harm is being done to them by the immense pressure they are under? The show includes thought provoking materials as well as insights into the surgeon and patient dynamic and theories of “projection” (the unconscious transfer of one's desires or emotions to another person) e.g. the patient viewing the surgeon as a miracle worker. Part of the work is based on the philosopher Michel Foucault's’ notion of the ‘medical gaze’ that denotes the dehumanizing medical separation of the patient's body from the patient's person (identity). Staged photographic and moving image tableaus are set to form a dialog, including artifacts such as biomedical and patient notes & surgical theatre drawings.


Primum Non Nocere - Berlin

Primum Non Nocere - Cambridge University


Primum Non Nocere - Warwick University


IAB World Congress in Bioethics


For the first time at an IAB World Congress, an exhibition especially curated by Emma Barnard to include visual and installation art that explores the integration of arts and ethics. A number of pieces have been contributed by members of the Arts and Ethics Research Group (Emma Barnard, Renata Kudlacek and Vishal Shah) at the University of Edinburgh. The AERG explores the collaboration of arts, medicine and the humanities under a number of broader themes. A guided tour of the exhibition led by the curator took place. 


'Thanks to Graeme Laurie for an excellent conference and Emma Barnard for a brilliant Arts and Ethics show'. Louise O'Boyle Artist/Lecturer 


'Thanks to you as artist and curator for helping to bring a beautiful added dimension to the IAB2016 It was absolutely brilliant. Thanks so much!' 

Professor Graeme Laurie Chair, IAB2016 Organising Committee




An exhibition by AERG (Arts and Ethics Research Group of Edinburgh University) exploring emerging ethical, legal and social issues in medicine and life science research. The exhibition unifies international artists and academics and consists of visual, video, sonic, written and interactive works that are meant to both challenge and inform, probe and provoke. "In between confidence and doubt, fear and hope, knowing and uncertainty, fragility and resilience, aggregation and disaggregation. In between entitlements and responsibilities, law and morality. In between boundaries and disciplinary fields. In between the meaningful pauses from one note to the next, one word to the next. In the lab, the studio, the pub, the clinic, the classroom, the office, the market, and the imagination. That is where we searched for insight and inspiration in relation to some of the most pressing issues that confront the connected fields of patient experience, technological innovation, science communication, and social justice". 


Members: Emma Barnard/Tanya Davis/Emma FitzGerald/Janice E. Graham/Shawn Harmon/Beverley Hood/Astrid Jaekel/Renata Kudlacek/Brian Lobel/Damian O'Riain/Vishal Shah/Cathy Southworth/Alette J. Willis 

Photographs ©Rick Schubert ©Camila Berrio.


If Yesterday Were Today


If Yesterday Were Today, an international group show. Artists live in and share cities, time passes, work grows and people drift into different parts of the world. 


In what way does our past affect our present? How do we make sense of our personal and collective history? Wouldn't it be nice if we could turn back time? Or do we prefer the present to the past? Walter Benjamin’s essay Thesis on the philosophy of History is a meditation on a prized possession, a Klee drawing he had purchased a time before: ‘A Klee drawing named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past...The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.’ With ‘If Yesterday were Today...’ the artists may turn towards the past - towards meaningful moments of general or personal history - in order to transfer aspects of it into the present. In the broader sense the exhibition approaches and questions the concept of time and its effects on daily life with multi-layered or playful narratives.


If Yesterday Were Today - Italy

If Yesterday Were Today - Germany


If Yesterday Were Today - United Kingdom