2018 was my 3rd year of taking part in this exciting collaboration. Scientists taking part in the international festival, Pint of Science, are paired with artists, who are invited to have a ‘creative reaction’ to their science.
This year I was paired with Joseph Wu, a Philosopher from the Department of History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He studies the ethics of how risk is communicated to patients.
I drew two pieces. A pen drawing ‘Across from the Chapel’, and a pen and watercolour ‘Risk assessment / don’t worry mum’
Here is my explanation:
“Joseph’s work is a philosophical, almost abstract, study of the ethics surrounding the way in which risk is presented to the patient. We talked about whether it’s safe to allow doctors to choose themselves how to present information, and the very subtle but important distinction between coercing and guiding the patient. Might some doctors have a god complex? My sketch of Joseph at work, overlooking the grandeur of King’s Chapel, reminds me of that question.
Joseph and I had different views about whether knowing the average risk compared to your own should influence your decisions as a patient. My view was that we have many potential risks and worries in our everyday lives, and knowing how you might compare to the average, or ‘normal’, helps us filter all those risks, and decide which are the ones that are rationally worth worrying about. So my painting is to represent all the other potential worries that might face the stressed patient whom the doctor faces, out of this context, in clinic. Joseph says his current work takes a step back from the “nitty gritty of lab work”. I’ve tried to add the nitty gritty of life back in!”