Martha Turland researches medical illustration and lectures in cultural & critical studies for graphic design and illustration courses.
Her work examines graphic novel formats and their use in investigatory medical contexts, also the social implications of surgeons' informal illustrations for patients.
Martha Turland conducts interdisciplinary research into medical illustrations. She lectures in cultural and critical studies and coordinates the module for Graphic Design & Illustration BA(Hons) courses.
Martha works with medical professionals, graphic novelists and comic artists. This way of working has been informed by her professional career that spans both Design Practice and Design History. Martha worked on large and medium sized commercial design projects for ICM, a Saatchi and Saatchi communications company and John Michael Design Consultants, London, as well as running her own design practice for commercial clients.
Martha Turland’s research is largely concerned with medical illustrations. Her work focuses on illustrations made in the moment: informal clinical drawings. Surgeons often draw for patients or for other medical professionals to explain a procedure or a condition. When a surgeon draws for a patient the condition goes from being general and abstract to being individual. The social implications of these are significant. It seems the drawing creates a valuable shared moment of visual communication, which in this context helps the patient or other medical professionals comprehend the medical context. This research is being pursued in collaboration with Dr Philippa Lyon.
Alongside the informal clinical drawing project Martha Turland is currently investigating graphic medicine. Within this field she is addressing how narrative drawing in the form of a graphic novel might explore or explain the process of heart surgery from two viewpoints; the individual patient, as well as the scientific. Underpinning this investigation is the question: to what extent does visual ‘accuracy’ contribute to the efficacy of visual representation. This line of questioning has led to workshops with a heart surgeon and graphic novelists for undergraduate Illustration students.
This research has been disseminated to medical professionals, graphic novelists and medical illustrators at the annual Graphic Medicine conference; John’s Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA (2014) and at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK (2013). This work has also been presented to a cross disciplinary audience of art historians, illustrators and scientists at the 4th annual International Illustration Symposium (2013) “Science, Imagination and the Illustration of Knowledge.” This research has also featured in an exhibition co-curated by Dr Philippa Lyon and Martha Turland The Utility of the Line (2014), University of Brighton.
After completing the MA in Design History at Middlesex University, Martha combined studio practice with teaching Design and Visual Culture & Theory at LCC (University of Arts London) and joined the University of Brighton in 2007.
Lyon, Philippa and Turland, Martha (2016) Manual drawing in clinical communication: understanding the role of clinical mark-making Visual Methodologies, 5 (1). pp. 39-44. ISSN 2040-5456 (In Press)
Lyon, Philippa and Turland, Martha (2014) Utility of the Line [Exhibition]
Turland, Martha (2014) ‘Illustrators, keep up…!’ In: 5th International Conference on Comics and Medicine, From Private Lives to Public Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 26-28 June 2014.
Turland, Martha (2013) Growing, growing, stop: selective emphasis in informal, clinical drawing encounters In: 4th International Conference on Comics and Medicine, Ethics Under Cover: Comics, Medicine and Society, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK, 5 - 7 July 2013.
'Critical Studies Interdisciplinary Journal of the Humanities'.
Invited External Panel member for Laser Learning Awards.