Outreach in the Health Professions Education Unit

We're inspiring the next generation of exceptional health professionals

The Health Professions Education Unit leads and participates in a range of outreach, public engagement and science communication events.
These range from seminars and lectures on research to interactive workshops for the general public or school audiences.
We also assist with work for television, especially involving anatomical body painting.

Gabrielle Finn doing anatomical body painting at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum

Anatomical body painting

Body painting is considered by some to be the most ancient form of art, but is now most frequently seen on the face, usually at sporting events or children’s parties. However, body painting is now being used in the medical setting as a way of projecting the inside on to the outside.

Professor Gabrielle Finn has been working with body paint as a teaching tool for healthcare students for over a decade, conducting research on its efficacy and training others in its use.

The Health Professions Education Unit facilitates seminars, displays and interactive workshops on anatomy and body painting.

Our past body painting events

Select past events include:

  • Culture Cure: Late Night at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
  • Science Night at The Centre for Life, Newcastle
  • Researchers Revealed at the Hancock Museum, Newcastle
  • British Science Festival
  • Northern Ireland Science Festival

Royal Institution Christmas Lecture 2018

A recent highlight was an invitation to body paint for the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture 2018: 'Who am I?', by Professor Alice Roberts.
The programme was broadcast on the BBC, resulting in painting and anatomical teaching by Professor Gabrielle Finn being beamed into millions of homes around the world.

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2018

Enquire about hosting an outreach activity

If you are interested in hosting an outreach activity, from school workshops to science festivals, please contact us at

Research outputs related to anatomical body painting

Aka JJ, Cookson NE, Hafferty F, Finn GM. Teaching by stealth: Utilising the hidden curriculum through body painting within anatomy education. European Journal of Anatomy. 2018;22(2):173-82.

Cookson NE, Aka JJ, Finn GM. An exploration of anatomists’ views toward the use of body painting in anatomical and medical education: An international study. Anatomical Sciences Education. 2018;11(2):146-54.

Finn GM. Current perspectives on the role of body painting in medical education. Advances in medical education and practice. 2018;9:701.

Finn GM, Bazira PJ, Bateman J, Sanders KA. Ultra-violet body painting: A new tool in the spectrum of anatomy education. European Journal of Anatomy. 2018;22(6):521-7.

Finn G. Using Body Painting and Other Art-Based Approaches to Teach Anatomy. In: Chan LK, Pawlina W, editors. Teaching Anatomy: A Practical Guide Germany: Springer; 2015. p. 155-64.

Finn GM, White PM, Abdelbagi I. The impact of color and role on retention of knowledge: A body‐painting study within undergraduate medicine. Anatomical sciences education. 2011;4(6):311-7.

Finn G, McLachlan J. A qualitative study of student responses to body painting. Anatomical Sciences Education. 2010;3(1):33-8.

Finn G. Twelve tips for running a successful body painting teaching session. Medical Teacher. 2010;32(11):887-90.