Trainee GP highlights ageing issues through art

Published: 10 September 2015 at 16:30

Katy Shorttle

Work by Addenbrooke’s doctor is on display as part of Anglia Ruskin MA Show

A doctor is swapping the emergency room for an art gallery this week, as work from her Masters course goes on display at the Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge.

Katy Shorttle has been studying for an MA in Illustration and Book Arts at Anglia Ruskin University, whilst also training to be a GP in the city.

The 29-year-old is currently working in the A&E department at Addenbrooke's Hospital, and her medical background has influenced the art she has produced during her course.

Katy's work has dealt with health challenges faced by individuals and societies, ranging from mental illness to Ebola. The art on display, as part of the annual MA Show, explores experiences of frailty and ageing, and the adaptations people make to cope.

Katy explained: "I have chosen a well-known object, the teacup, as a metaphor for the individual, and created personal narratives representing the resilience, renewal and loss experienced by thousands each day.

"I have sourced teacups from charity shops. Displaced from their tea set and often sold without their saucer, each teacup becomes a souvenir of the twentieth century lifestyle.

"It felt appropriate to use these objects which originate from the last century to illustrate individual stories relating to the ageing process.

"My art practice is rooted in my work as a medical doctor and my practice as a doctor has benefitted from this opportunity to explore the human side of medicine through art."

In total, 33 Masters students will have their work on display at the Ruskin Gallery. The exhibition, called Perceptions, brings together artists graduating from the MA Fine Art, MA Film & Television Production, MA Graphic Design & Typography, MA Illustration & Book Arts, MA Photography and MA Fashion programmes at Cambridge School of Art.

And thanks to the Cambridge School of Art's growing reputation in China, the exhibition features the work of five graduating students from Beijing, who came to Anglia Ruskin from Tsinghua University, the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication.

Chris Owen, Head of Cambridge School of Art, said: "This year's MA Show demonstrates how our range of postgraduate MA subjects has grown in recent years, and also shows the international appeal of these courses.

"As well as China and the UK, we now have artists, designers, photographers and film-makers exhibiting who originate from many other countries. Together they demonstrate a diversity of creative vision which wonderfully illustrates the show's title – Perceptions."

After the MA Show ends on 16 September, selected work will be presented digitally in the Ruskin Gallery until Saturday, 3 October. The exhibition is free to attend.