For nearly two decades, Bellarmine University has been the proud home of a unique interdisciplinary program that brings together the creative arts and health sciences: the BecVar Artist-In-Residence (AIR) Program.
The BecVar AIR program was founded in 2002 through a generous endowment from the late Arthur N. BecVar and the late Jayne BecVar, longtime friends of the university. The mission of the program is to encourage students in creative fields such as fine
arts, writing, and digital media to bring their skills to bear in a work or series of works that explores the lives of health care professionals working in clinical or health sciences. The program offers a student stipend each semester, along
with funds for supplies. Since its inception, the university has supported one or more student Artists-in-Residence every year. (For more info about the BecVar AIR program, click here).
Two key faculty in the Health Care Administration and Public Health (HCAPH) department are Dr. Jessica Hume and Dr. Amy Tudor, who coordinate this program. Drs. Hume and Tudor both specialize in interdisciplinary work that examines the intersection
of the humanities and creativity with the patient experience, illness, death and dying.
Current Student Artists
For the current academic year, Bellarmine University is thrilled to announce that the generous BecVar endowment will support three undergraduate Artists-in-Residence. Here, you can read about these students’ projects, and join us in excited
anticipation of their final work.
Brianna Bragg: Aging Studies and Communication double major, minor in Marketing
“The BecVar program offers me a valuable opportunity to complement my thesis work and create a multimedia project that showcases these narratives of illness and raises awareness about the presence of health disparities in the local community.
My vision is to create a web page that serves as an interactive and educational infographic that showcases narratives of illness. It will be informed by my research and include the narratives I collect. Using a digital platform allows for an engaging
product where I can combine text, graphics, and audiovisual components. An additional benefit of the digital medium is its ease of distribution. It has potential to be shared outside of the Bellarmine community for education or advocacy purposes.”
Logan Funderburg: English
“I plan to write a collection of poems revolving around the body, and how it is treated among the various stages of life. Here at Bellarmine, and specifically in the senior level health science courses, one is able to see a wide range of bodies;
both old and young, fragile and strong, masters of their craft and young aspiring students. We have an eclectic mix here at Bellarmine and it’s begging for a poetic rendering so someone from the outside world can begin to reconcile with
the world of health sciences. My goal is just that: to capture the one thing every person can relate to; the body. Specifically, I’d like to see if there is a distinction in the way that we care for bodies as they get older. I’d like
to see if there is possibly a difference in the way an anatomy lab talks about a body versus how a student in a geriatric care setting is taught to speak about bodies. I’d also like to capture that innate drive among nursing students to
care day in and day out for complete strangers. Perhaps it is the body that serves as the anchor of that connection between nurse and patient. Furthermore, it is possible they know that our bodies are all vulnerable in different ways.”
Taylor Wortham: Visual Art
“For the project, I would like to interview students, professors, and people in the field, about what they feel is the most important thing they do. Their knowledge would help shape pictures by showing their own journeys from education to career.
From there I would start the process of making the piece. I would like to make paintings of dissections in the style of medical illustrations depicting the results of my interviews. The art would show the hands operating in their subtle and precise
ways. I’ve always seen surgery as an art form. Hands attempting to make small incisions, carefully moving through the complex anatomy, are very impressive to me and it seems people outside of the profession don’t think about that aspect
very much. The hands would not only serve the purpose of showing the accuracy involved, but also the importance of the student/teacher relationship. I would even like to photograph their hands in the correct positions to get the most accurate
references. The way they are positioned, the utensils they use, even the differences between the students and the professor’s techniques; they would all be important to the pieces I would create.”
Look for the exciting work of these students on campus very soon, or visit the webpaqe for the BecVar AIR program.
For more information on how to get involved in studies of health and the creative arts, please contact Dr. Jessica Hume at firstname.lastname@example.org.