We spent the afternoon at an event at the Art Workers’ Guild called ‘Thinking with Your Hands’ which is about the way traditional craft skills and working with one’s hands remain as relevant to aspects of science as the arts. I hadn’t known that Nicky Morgan as Secretary of State for Education has been quoted as saying that ‘arts education will hold you back for the rest of your life’, which, if true, is grotesque. So, the point of the afternoon was to suggest ways in which hand skills are not just a recreation, but an essential resource, not least in surgery (maybe the Secretary of State hasn’t thought of this). There were a series of tables with two or three people, each of whom was working in an area which involves a relationship between science and craft practice.
First, thread management, with a needleworker alongside a theatre nurse:-
Then, small-scale working, including an entomologist from the Natural History Museum:-
The third was called Indescribable Knowledge (the picture is a model of an appendix, which junior doctors have to learn about through touch):-
Then Structure and Surface with a hat maker and a plastic surgeon:-
After 3D Thinking, which included a plasterworker who had trained at Hornsey School of Art, and Construction, we were summoned to a discussion. Of course, it was preaching to the converted.