Object-based Learning: Teaching psychiatry and medicine with art

Michael Baigent, Fiona Salmon, Heather Gaunt

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


    Background: Practicing as a good doctor extends beyond
    knowing where to find a pulse, how to take a history or
    what to ask to explore for symptoms of a mental disorder.
    Professional practice requires self-awareness, capacity
    for reflection, empathy, cultural awareness, powers of
    observation and an ability to relate complexity, which
    are not easily taught in medical school using traditional
    methods. Conquering this ‘space in between’ makes
    clinical practice easier – long understood to be of central
    importance by therapists providing psychological therapies.
    Groups of medical students can explore these concepts
    in themselves in a non-threatening setting by examining
    artworks (objects). Psychiatrists are well placed (although
    not exclusively) conceptually to lead and engage students
    in this type of exercise.
    Objective: This practical seminar will describe what
    object-based learning (OBL) is and review where it is being
    applied in the tertiary setting, including in undergraduate
    medicine in psychiatry teaching.
    Method: Participants will learn about the application of
    OBL and visit the nearby Flinders University City Gallery,
    where they will have the opportunity to participate in a
    practical exercise responding to ‘In the Saddle on the Wall’,
    an exhibition comprising art works and digital stories of 13
    senior Aboriginal artists from the Kimberley region.
    Findings: Participants find this method of learning
    enjoyable and worthwhile.
    Conclusions: Learning from art objects has a place in
    modern psychiatric and medical education and is easily
    adapted by psychiatrists.
    This is run as one symposium over two, 90-min parts.
    The second part of the symposium will be a practical session held at Flinders University City Gallery, Ground Floor,
    State Library of South Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37
    Number of pages1
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
    Issue numberS1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
    EventRANZCP 2017 Congress, Speaking our minds. Telling our stories -
    Duration: 30 Apr 2017 → …


    • object-based learning
    • Psychiatry
    • medicine with art


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