Medicine is a messy business. Not just the literal blood and guts of surgery, but the way in which the diagnosis, treatment and understanding of disease crosses all kinds of boundaries within (and beyond) the sciences and the humanities. Even more than this, the way we think about our bodies, their function and their meaning, is shaped not only by the teachings of biomedical science but by our encounters with (amongst many others) culture, politics and religion – all things that have their roots deep in history.
These are potent questions for anyone who works in history of medicine and the medical humanities, and earlier this year I went in search of new answers with Viv Regan and her team from WORLDbytes. This online citizen TV channel, run by the educational charity WORLDwrite, offers media training and experience to young volunteer-learners. Viv and her volunteers wanted to make a film about the art and science of medicine, and Ross MacFarlane of the Wellcome Library was kind enough to give us time and space for an afternoon of filming in the library. Here are the results: