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Date: Tuesday 04 June 2024

Time: 17:15 - 18:45

Location: Online via MS Teams

Facilitators: Andrew Carnie, Dr Rebecca Goss, Dr Fiona Johnstone, Professor Sian E Harding, Professor Sanjay Sharma, Dr Alexa Wright.

How to register: Complete this short registration form.

I carry your heart: Multiple perspectives on the broken heart

About this event

This online event is a unique opportunity to explore the broken heart, its symbolism and healing through multiple perspectives: Cardiology, Cardiac Pharmacology, History of Art, Fine Art and Poetry.

World class clinicians and artists will discuss a wide variety of topics, including:

  • the phenomenological effects of heart transplant
  • their personal experiences
  • visual symbolism of the heart from Ancient Egypt to contemporary art
  • the detrimental effects of excessive exercise on some individuals
  • the damaging effect of extreme emotion on the cardiovascular system
  • the relationships formed between patient, carer and medic when humans are pushed to emotional and physical extremes.

Much more than just a blood pump, the heart is magical, spiritual and emotional, as well as anatomical. It relates to both body and soul, frequently functioning as the locus point of individual identity.

Join us as leading experts share their insights, images and poetry highlighting the complex relationship between mind and body through discussion of this mysterious organ and put your own questions to them.

Trigger warning: This event may include discussion of child death and sudden adult death.

About our speakers

Andrew Carnie - Artist

Andrew Carnie is a studio-based artist working from Winchester in the United Kingdom. His practice frequently involves a meaningful exchange with scientists. Themes and ideas are often based around neurology, and how we get a sense of ourselves through ideas and images generated by contemporary science.

The work is usually time-based in nature, involving light and slide dissolve systems or video projection onto complex screens. In darkened spaces layered images appear and disappear on suspended voiles, the developing display absorbing the viewer into an expanded sense of space and time through slowly unfolding narratives that evolve around them.

Carnie studied at Goldsmiths then the Royal College of Art, London. His practice has been supported by the Arts Council England, the Wellcome Trust, the AHRC, and SHRCHe exhibits locally, nationally, and internationally.

Dr Rebecca Goss - Poet 

In 2007 Rebecca Goss’s newborn daughter Ella was diagnosed with Severe Ebstein’s Anomaly, a rare and incurable heart condition. She lived for sixteen months. Rebecca will be reading from her second collection Her Birth, a book-length sequence of poems beginning with Ella’s birth, her short life and her death, and ending with the joys and complexities that come with the birth of another child. A regular contributor to the world of medical humanities, Rebecca will be speaking of the relationships formed between patient, carer and medic when humans are pushed to emotional and physical extremes.

Dr Fiona Johnstone - Art Historian

Fiona Johnstone is an art historian specializing in the intersections between contemporary art and the medical and health humanities. Her most recent publications include the monograph AIDS & Representation (Bloomsbury, 2023) and the journal articles “Collaborations in art and medicine” (Leonardo, 2023) and “What can art history offer medical humanities?” (Medical Humanities, 2024). She co-directed the international online programme Confabulations: art practice, art history, critical medical humanities, and is currently co-editing the related volume, Art & the Critical Medical Humanities, to be published in 2025 with Bloomsbury’s ‘Critical Interventions in the Medical and Health Humanities’ series. She is also working on a new monograph, provisionally titled Critical Interlopers: artists as researchers and collaborators in healthcare and medicine.

Fiona is an Associate Professor in Visual Medical Humanities at Durham University, where she leads the Visual and Material Lab as part of the newly established Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities. 

Professor Sian E Harding - Cardiac Pharmacologist

Sian Harding is Professor of Cardiac Pharmacology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, and Director of the Imperial Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Centre. She obtained her PhD. in Pharmacology from King's College, London in 1981, and since then the primary focus of her work has been cardiomyocyte function in the failing heart. This has extended to gene therapy to modulate cardiomyocyte function, and she was Scientific PI for the UK's first clinical trial on myocardial gene therapy. More recently the scope has extended to the characterisation of cardiomyocytes derived from embryonic stem cells, and their use in cardiac repair, tissue engineering and drug discovery.

Professor Harding is Past-President of the European Section of the International Society for Heart Research, is on the Board of the British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy and has been elected as a Fellow to the AHA, ESC and ISHR. She was Special Advisor to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on Regenerative Medicine and is now a member of the CGT Catapult: Pluripotent stem cells programme Advisory Panel.

Professor Sanjay Sharma BSc (Hons), MD, FRCP, FESC - Cardiologist

Sanjay Sharma is Professor of Cardiology and Head of Research for the clinical academic group at St George’s University of London and St George’s NHS Foundation trust. His interests include heart muscle disease, sudden cardiac death in the young, and cardiovascular adaptation in athletes for which he has an international reputation.

Professor Sharma is the Director for the largest sports cardiology unit in the UK which is responsible for assessing athletes with potentially serious cardiac diseases from numerous major sporting organisations in the UK. He is Medical Director of the London Marathon and has been commended for providing one of the best medical services for endurance events in the world. He was awarded membership of Venerable Order of St John for his services to St John Ambulance for supporting the medical welfare of the runners. Professor Sharma was the lead cardiologist for the 2012 London Olympics and provided medical services for all endurance sports. 

Professor Sharma has previously held posts as chairman of the ESC sports cardiology nucleus, board member for the European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention, congress programme committee member of the European Society of Cardiology in Preventive Cardiology, “Best of ESC” expert group and International associate editor for the European Heart Journal. He is currently a senior member of the ESC media and communications committee and editor for the ESC Congress News.

Working with the charitable organisation, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) for the past 20 years, Professor Sharma leads the largest cardiac screening programme in the UK for individuals aged 14-35 years old.

Dr Alexa Wright - Artist

Artist, Alexa Wright lives and works in London. Her practice spans a range of media, including photography, video, sound, interactive installation and book works. Since the late-1990s, when she first became known for After Image, an award-winning series of photographs of people with phantom limbs, much of Alexa’s practice has involved building reciprocal relationships with people with mental or physical differences, medical conditions and, more recently, people in prison. Alexa has often worked in collaboration with medical scientists, notably with Alf Linney, Professor of Medical Physics and computer scientists at UCL (1999-2010). From 2007-2019 she was part of Hybrid Bodies, an interdisciplinary research team based at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. 

Alexa’s work has been widely shown internationally in festivals such as: Kochi Biennale, India; FILE, SESI Art Gallery, Sao Paolo, Brazil; DaDaFest International, Liverpool, UK, International Women Artists’ Biennale, Incheon, Korea and Athens Photo Festival, Benaki Museum, Athens. Examples of solo exhibitions include: Toronto Photographers Workshop, Canada; Experimental Arts Foundation, Adelaide, Australia, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh and, most recently, Saatchi Gallery, London.

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