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Biomedicine in museums

Image communication in life sciences and medicine

By August 10, 2007No Comments

I love to discover new professional fields and knowledge-practices that I’ve never heard of before. Today Street Anatomy opened up the virtual door to one of them, viz., that of biocommunication and biovisualisation (formerly medical illustration).

I believe what these professionals do is of great significance for what we are trying to achieve in medical museums, including this humble institution, especially exhibitionwise.

Take for example The BioCommunications Association (BCA), which was founded as the Biological Photographic Association in 1931 and now has a much wider mission, i.e., to be an international association of media professionals who “create and use quality images in visual communications for teaching, documentation and presentations in the life sciences and medicine”. Thus the BCA includes people working with computer graphics, digital imaging, biophotography, videography, teleconferencing, scientific poster production, etc. — for the purpose of biological and medical communication (but it looks like the photographers are still setting the tone of their annual meetings).

They also have an annual competition (the BioImages Salon) with some great images among the finalists (unfortunately the images cannot be copied from the site; these guys are professionals: they know how to protect their IPRs).

Their link page is awesome — enough for a week’s browsing in this (to me) new and exciting professional field. When will there be time over?

Added: Is this a professional field in trouble, institutionwise? Penn’s Medical School decided in 2002 to close their department of Biomedical Communications (to the dismay of its former director). Maybe these are knowledge-practices and skills that are so widely used now that they cannot be confined to a special uni dept? Does anyone know?

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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