“The artist is not a megaphone for your research findings”: collaborations between artists and academics in the medical humanities
Dr Fiona JohnstoneZoom
Drawing on research conducted for the Working Knowledge Project Short “Collaborations between artists and academics” (January 2021; https://hearingthevoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Johnstone_Collaborations_Academics_Artists.pdf), this paper considers a frequently opaque or invisible aspect of scholarly practice in the medical humanities, a field defined by its enthusiasm for collaboration, interdisciplinarity and dialogue. In this context, artists are often engaged as part of multi-disciplinary teams, or work with individual academics on specific projects. Collaborations between researchers and creative practitioners are generally perceived as highly desirable, with potential benefits for both sides: they are often recognised as a way for academics to bring their research to a wider public, and for artists to access expert knowledge that can be used as raw material for their own work. Creative collaborations can also be understood as an innovative method of alternative knowledge production, for example foregrounding collective, participatory or embodied forms of knowledge. However, presenting such collaborations in an exclusively positive light risks an overly idealistic vision of what it means practically to work together.
This paper will present the findings of the Project Short, which offers a toolkit for would-be collaborators, outlining how collaborations between artists and researchers are initiated, the process that are involved, the outputs that might be expected, and how contracts, artists’ fees, copyright, and intellectual property rights can be negotiated.