Synergy = Art + Science + Research

The unlikely alliance of artists, scientists and researchers is resulting in great ‘synergies’.

As part of Flinders Health Research Week, a panel of eminent artists and Flinders precinct scientists and researchers will explore the synergetic relationship between artistic enquiry and scientific research within the medical research environments of Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) and Flinders University.

Speakers on the ‘Synergy = Art + Science + Research’ panel at Alere Function Centre at Flinders University’s Bedford Park campus on Wednesday 6 September will include:

  • John Blines, FMC SALA Resident Artist, who also works with researchers at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC)
  • Dr Sarah Cohen-Woods, Matthew Flinders Fellow in Psychology at Flinders University and FCIC
  • Emeritus Professor Ian Gibbins, neuroscientist and former Head of Anatomy and Histology at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University
  • Dr Michael Michael, medical scientist, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer
  • Catherine Truman, resident artist in Ophthalmology and previously Anatomy at Flinders University
  • Emeritus Professor Keryn Williams, from Flinders Opthalmology

Dr Michael has been working with John Blines at the FCIC since 2015 where John is developing a transdisciplinary art practice that includes cancer research, behavioural science and knowledge translation.

Professor Williams’ research in ophthalmology investigates the nexus between vision and perception in collaboration with Catherine Truman.

Dr Cohen-Woods heads the Behavioural Genetic and Environmental Mechanisms Laboratory at Flinders. Her recent research investigates epigenetic variation in behaviour and psychiatry in conjunction with gene-environment interactions. She is also collaborating
with artist John Blines at FCIC.

The ‘Synergy = Art + Science + Research’ session is open to the community and collective Flinders health precinct. It will be held on 6 September from 5-7.30 pm at the Alere Function Centre at Flinders University.

 The range of fascinating interactions between the arts, science and research is part of the Arts in Health @ FMC initiative, a successful and long-running health promotion program at Flinders Medical Centre that integrates art into the daily life of the hospital.
The program brings in a full program of free daily arts activities for patients, carers and staff, which range from art therapy and artistic projects, music in the wards and ‘sound therapy’, mindfulness meditation, yoga, creative writing and ‘nurture packs’ for end-of-life care.

Not only does Arts in Health @ FMC provide therapies and professional therapeutic support but also improves the hospital’s environment  with art exhibitions and the daily arts activities, says the program’s arts coordinator Sally Francis.

The Arts in Health @ FMC is one of the largest and longest running such programs in Australia.

“There is a real synergy which occurs when an artist is in residence, where the mutual transfer of ideas, approaches and techniques means both the artists and scientists all learn from this interaction,” Ms Francis says.

“It really can affect the way they work and the ways they use and interact in the environment.”

The Wednesday evening panel will be chaired by leading Australian Arts and Health Research & Evaluation consultant Dr Christine Putland, a Senior Lecturer at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University.

Live music will be provided by Alain Valodze and drinks and canapes will be served before and after the panel.

Free parking from 5pm is available at Flinders University Car Park 6. This is a free event but bookings are essential via Eventbrite

For more information, contact Arts in Health at Flinders Medical Centre: 8204 3096 /


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