Teaching the teachers to draw: Observational drawing as an educational approach

ERDP funding facilitated implementation of a three day workshop for anatomists and life sciences educators from across the UK held within the Anatomy and Clinical Skills Centre during May 2017.  Workshops were delivered by South African collaborator Leonard Shapiro, who is an experienced drawing teacher and skilled workshop facilitator. The primary purpose of the workshop was to encourage the deep observation of anatomy, achieved through a specifically designed haptico-visual observation and drawing (HVO&D) technique.

Participant feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive. It is expected that analysis of experimental, survey and focus group data collected from a pilot research study conducted during the workshop will provide further insights into the value of the process for participants and their students.


A 12 tips article has been published in MedEdPublish, Twelve tips for implementing artistic learning approaches in anatomy education,  and this includes a description of the workshop.

An article describing the theoretical and practical aspects of the HVO&D process is currently in preparation for submission for publication, and findings from the pilot study were presented at the AMEE 2017 conference in Helsinki. I will also be speaking about this work at the Scottish Anatomists meeting in September in Aberdeen.

Future investigations will develop and expand upon the pilot study in order to optimise HVO&D and our previously described “Observe-Reflect-Draw-Edit-Repeat” (ORDER) learning process, and to identify successful strategies for implementation into curricula.

Iain Keenan, School of Medical Education



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