Conversations on Art-Science Collaboration and Vaccine Hesitancy


  • Kaisu Koski Sheffield Hallam University
  • Johan Holst University of Oslo



vaccine hesitancy, health communication, health beliefs, visualization, art-science collaboration


Kaisu Koski, a Finnish artist-researcher based in the UK and the Netherlands, and Johan Holst, a leading vaccinologist in Norway, discuss their collaborative work exploring vaccine hesitancy in parents. The collaboration was initiated as part of Koski’s ongoing research in creating films for medical education. Together, the authors developed collaborative exchanges on vaccine-critical parents’ health beliefs and visualized them in a multimodal artwork series. Due to the authors’ different viewpoints on vaccines, this project raises questions about positionality in interdisciplinary research and the power of visualization in health communication.

Author Biographies

Kaisu Koski, Sheffield Hallam University

strong>Kaisu Koski is Associate Professor at Lab4Living at Sheffield Hallam University. She is an interdisciplinary artist-researcher with a background in films and performance. Kaisu collaborates with scientists, clinicians, and engineers, focussing on simulation and human–machine interactions in clinical contexts. She has conducted research fellowships in various medical schools in the US, Canada, UK and Denmark, and developed films for medical curricula on topics such as vaccine-hesitancy and empathy. Her scholarly work addresses the methodology of arts-based research, medical education, and bioethics. She also serves as an expert evaluator in the European Commission Horizon2020 Programme. Kaisu’s work has been exhibited and performed in multiple gallery shows and theaters, and received multiple official selections on the film festival circuit. These include venues such as Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt, Hasselt Triennial, Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Estonian Museum of Applied Arts, Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in Korea, Helsinki International Film Festival, and Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. She has received numerous grants and awards for her scholarly and artistic work including organizations such as the Academy of Finland, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, and Portuguese National Science Foundation.

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

Koski, K., & Holst, J. (2020). Conversations on Art-Science Collaboration and Vaccine Hesitancy. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 11(2), 71–85.