Book celebrating "silent teachers" leads to Stephen Fry Award 2013

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    The University of Dundee's Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research 2013 has been won by the team behind an anthology celebrating the people who donate their bodies to science when they die.

    'In Memoriam' celebrates the "silent teachers" whose remarkable gesture helps to train the next generation of doctors, scientists, dentists and surgeons. The book features work from internationally renowned artists and writers, who collaborated with staff and students at the University to create the publication.

    The project was driven by Calum Colvin, Eddie Small, Anna Day and Kirsty Gunn, who will receive the award, named after the former University Rector during the annual Discovery Day event at Dalhousie Building on Friday, 11th January.

    The project drew on the research and expertise of Professor Sue Black and her team at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), who are creating new mortuary facilities to accommodate Thiel embalming and are set to become the first university in the UK to exclusively adopt this method of embalming.

    Since the book's publication, the University has experienced an increase in the number of people wishing to bequeath bodies upon their passing, while its influence has extended across Scotland, through work with other universities, the Scottish Government and the NHS.

    Dr Jon Urch, Public Engagement co-ordinator at the University, congratulated the In Memoriam team on their award saying, "This is a truly remarkable book that not only pays tribute to the silent teachers but also raises awareness of the vital role that those who donate their bodies play in medical and scientific education and research.

    "It is a beautiful publication that demonstrates the University's strengths in medicine, science, art, and the humanities. Renowned artists and writers came together to make In Memoriam possible and it reflects the interdisciplinary approach that marks out the University's approach to research and public engagement.

    "In Memoriam has undoubtedly raised the awareness of body donation both locally and nationally, and the success of this innovative and unique project can be measured by the increase in the number of bequeathals to the University."

    In Memoriam sees medical and creative writing students explore the lives and achievements of the donors. Interviews with people who intend to donate their body, and the families of those who have already done so, help to personalise the individuals who give hope to others after their own death.

    Calum Colvin, one of Scotland's top contemporary artists and a Professor at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, part of the University, contributed original artwork to the publication, which celebrates these lives in both words and in a series of beautiful images.

    Kirsty Gunn, Professor of Creative Writing at the University, wrote the book's introduction, while Eddie Small worked tirelessly to bring the donors story to life. The project was conceived and managed by Anna Day, Director of Literary Dundee.

    Award-winning writers Alan Warner, Christopher Reid, and John Carey also contributed new work to the book.

    The Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research celebrates the sharing of the world-class research carried out at Dundee with the wider public and is given to the researchers (or team) who have made the greatest contribution to public engagement in the past year.

    Period11 Jan 2013

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    • TitleBook celebrating "silent teachers" leads to Stephen Fry Award 2013
      PersonsKirsty Gunn