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Art and Reflection in Medicine: Barnes Foundation Curatorial Seminar

ENGL 0365.401
also offered as: ARTH 0501
Monday 1:45-4:44pm


At our loneliest and most vulnerable, the arts can provide a lens to intimately explore the work of caring for the human condition. Encounters with an artwork—much like our encounters with another—may catalyze connection and become a wellspring for healing and shared joy to unexpectedly emerge. This course, offered in collaboration with the Barnes Foundation and Public Trust, will explore how art can foster a mutuality of healing and compassion for one another and ourselves, with a specific focus on caregiving and medicine today. Each week, students will be invited to reflect on the way in which the arts, artists, and arts institutions can better support those who suffer, as well as the role of the arts and humanities more generally in helping patient and caregiving communities create intentional space to spur introspection and externalize inner grief and private suffering. The course will meet weekly in the permanent collection of the Barnes Foundation and at Public Trust on Penn's campus, where students will directly engage with a variety of artists, artistic practices, and museum professionals. It is presented in partnership with the Rx/Museum Initiative and Penn Medicine Listening Lab, and the work of the Health Ecologies Lab at Penn Social Policy & Practice.

English Major Requirements
  • Sector 1 Theory and Poetics (AETP)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
  • Theory & Cultural Studies Concentration (AETC)
College Attributes
  • Sector III: Arts & Letters (AUAL)