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  • ‘Sample 1’ work in progress by Karina Thompson in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Howard and the Informatics (Robotics) team at King’s College, London.

Parallel Practices

A Crafts Council and Cultural Institute at King's College London partnership 

Craft skills contribute to innovation in science, technology and medicine. Parallel Practices is a partnership between the Crafts Council and the Cultural Institute at King’s College London to bring together makers and medical professionals in order to drive innovation in medical research and healthcare.

Parallel Practices piloted in 2014 to stimulate learning and innovation through a focus on the body, materials and processes that inform clinical outcomes and artistic practice. Each residency involved a team of at least one maker and one medical and scientific academic. The recognition and value of crafts skills that pushed innovation in medical research is now being progressed in the following two strands:

Parallel Practices: Making for Medicine 2016 - Learning through making
Independent evaluation of Parallel Practices 2014 showed that makers offer medical students from undergraduate through to PhD and practitioner level a powerful way in which to challenge convention and experiment, with the potential to transform learning and research in these areas and unlock innovation in the medical arena. 

A new research and development programme has been designed to stimulate innovation in health and medicine through the integration of craft expertise into university learning and teaching. The following research and development collaborations will take place from February to July 2016; 

John Grayson working with the Natural and  Mathematical Sciences teams (Robotics and Physics)
Based in King's new maker lab space, the maker will mentor undergraduate and postgraduate informatics students in projects developing medical and healthcare technologies, encouraging them to test and push the boundaries of their ideas. The maker will be interacting with informatics and physics students who use the space.

Celia Pym, who was a Parallel Practices 2014 participant will continue and progress her collaboration with the Anatomy department
Celia will encourage students based in the dissecting room to develop and test a broader view of anatomy from a humanities/ making perspective and explore the added value brought by their manual dexterity skills. This collaboration will test and build on initial findings from the 2014 Parallel Practices maker collaboration in the dissecting room and draw out the impact of this type of collaboration on students.

Shelley James who will work with the Natural and Mathematical Sciences physics students to enhance their learning experience and also to take her work in the maker lab out to the wider student community at King’s through pop up workshops.

Follow the progress of John, Celia and Shelley through the Parallel Practices blog

Parallel Practices: Making for Medicine 2016 - Research through making 

Materials knowledge and making skills can be powerful drivers of innovation in medical research and practice. Lack of appropriate levels of such knowledge limits medical innovation in certain fields and slows the speed at which such innovations are translated into front line treatment and care.  The Parallel Practices 2014 demonstrated the positive healthcare impact of research and development collaborations between makers and medical professionals. King’s College London has identified medical researchers who would benefit collaborating with makers. The Maxillofacial Rehabilitation Department at Guy’s Hospital is seeking two makers to work with them.  This was an open call for applications which has now closed. We will be announcing the selected makers soon. 


Watch the film of Parallel Practices pilot programme in 2014

Parallel Practices 2016 - Participants

Parallel Practices Blog