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The Art of Seeing

The Art of Seeing™ is a visual literacy program developed through the collaboration between the Department of Family Medicine and the McMaster Museum of Art for our Family Medicine residents. This was developed in response to what we know about the importance of developing reflective healthcare professionals who are able to provide compassionate, caring and empathetic care. There is mounting evidence that these traits can be nurtured and taught in the art gallery. This is of particular interest as recent research has shown that trainee’s levels of empathy drop during training and reach their lowest levels during residency. Finding new ways to nourish this domain on professional development is a paramount importance.

  • The Art of Seeing™ is an experience that uses visual art to transform individuals through a deeper understanding of themselves and others. The program develops skills to enhance professional growth while also promoting self-care. Through facilitated discussions and evidence-based looking, individuals will interact with each other and selected works of art. Through these interactions, participants will improve their individual and collective abilities to find deeper meaning in their professional and personal journeys.
  • The Art of Seeing™ is designed to make us better observers by developing greater skills in non-verbal and visual communication, observation and reflection by developing skills formal analysis and visual literacy training using works of art. The Art of Seeing™ follows McMaster University Faculty of Medicine’s model of problem-based experiential learning combined with art object-based learning and applied to learning opportunities outside of medicine.

We are encouraged by the positive impact on empathy on our healthcare professional trainees (see references). Since it’s inception on 2010, The Art of Seeing™ has now expanded its reach beyond the residency training. We have now partnered with Centre for Continuing Education at McMaster and are part of the Community Engagement and Strategic Leadership programs.


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