Discussing <i>The Anatomy Table</i> and <i>The Vaccination Picture</i>


  • Sean Caulfield University of Alberta
  • Timothy Caulfield University of Alberta
  • Johan Holst University of Oslo




visual languages, countering misinformation, vaccination, cultural perspectives of health, medical images, interdisciplinary collaboration


The Anatomy Table is a print-based work that thematically addresses the loss of public trust in science, as well as misinformation surrounding science-informed interventions in health care, such as vaccination. Drawing on the history of anatomical illustration by referencing Andrea Vesalius’s famous 16th-century anatomical book, On the Fabric of the Human Body, the work combines this with contemporary drawings that suggest anatomy but which have an imagined, nonsensical quality, indicating to viewers that the drawings are not accurate representations of human anatomy. In addition to reflecting on this piece and the process of collaboration, Caulfield, Caulfield, and Holst discuss the challenge of countering misinformation in healthcare today. The work was created through collaborative dialogue between Sean Caulfield, a professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta, and Johan Holst, senior scientist previously working at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo and from August 2016 being a vaccine expert at the Headquarter of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), situated in Oslo, Norway.

Author Biographies

Sean Caulfield, University of Alberta

Sean Caulfield was named a Canada Research Chair in Fine Arts (Tier 2) from 2000 to 2010, and is a Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, living and working in Treaty Six territory. He has exhibited his prints, drawings, and artist’s books extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Recent exhibitions include Perceptions of Promise, Chelsea Art Museum, New York/Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta; The New World, The Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art, Debrecen, Hungary; Imagining Science, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Caulfield has received numerous grants and awards for his work, including Triennial Prize at the 2nd Bangkok Triennial International Print and Drawing Exhibition, Bangkok, Thailand; SSHRC Dissemination Grant: Canadian Stem Cell Network Impact Grant; SSHRC Fine Arts Creation Grant; Canada Council Travel Grant; and a Visual Arts Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois. Caulfield’s work is in various public and private collections, including Houghton Library, Harvard University; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin. In 2017 Caulfield was elected to the Arts Division of the Academy of the Arts and Humanities of the Royal Society of Canada.

Timothy Caulfield, University of Alberta

Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics such as stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science and public health policy has allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles. He has won numerous academic and writing awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He contributes frequently to the popular press and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin, 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin, 2015). His most recent book is Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety (Penguin Random House, 2020). Caulfield is also the host and co-producer of the award-winning documentary TV show A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, which has been shown in over 60 countries, including streaming on Netflix in North America.

Johan Holst, University of Oslo

Johan Holst is a Senior Scientist with basic academic training as a pharmacist from the University of Oslo, and research experience in the field of development, characterization, and evaluation of vaccines. He works at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Oslo and, since 2013, has mainly been involved in a collaborative project with Novartis Vaccines (now gsk) dealing with evaluation of vaccines against serogroup B meningococcal disease. The collaboration between NIPH and Novartis grew out of relationships founded during an earlier public health intervention in New Zealand. Dr. Holst’s career in vaccinology began in the area of Bordetella pertussis research where he characterized pili and their potential use in modern vaccine development. From 1988 to 1998, he was Head of Control at the Department of Vaccinology at NIPH, with a primary focus on the characterization, quality control, and quality assurance for the Norwegian vaccine against serogroup B meningococcal disease, MenBvac®. He has participated in numerous clinical trials, including the pivotal placebo-controlled double-blind efficacy trial of MenBvac® in 180,000 teenagers from 1989 to 1991. His clinical trial experience also includes investigations of mucosal vaccines. Since the early 1990s, Dr. Holst has served as an advisor to various WHO research programs, Pan American Health Organization, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, he worked as a consultant for different vaccine companies such as Chiron, Novartis, and Wyeth, as well as giving assistance to several biotechnology groups. His list of publications includes about 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals and a couple of book chapters. He is also a co-inventor of three patents. In August 2016, Dr. Holst joined the Secretariat of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations headquartered in Oslo, where he currently serves as a vaccine expert.




How to Cite

Caulfield, S., Caulfield, T., & Holst, J. (2020). Discussing <i>The Anatomy Table</i> and <i>The Vaccination Picture</i>. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 11(2), 57–70. https://doi.org/10.17742/IMAGE.IN.11.2.4