Image showing a flying flaming brain representing the : STEAM Imaging V Holding the ‘Digital’ in Medicine to Account residency call

Call for creative students: Creator in Residence: STEAM Imaging V Holding the ‘Digital’ in Medicine to Account

Call for creative students across Edinburgh College of Art, The Institute for Design Informatics and beyond!


Update: We are extending our exciting opportunity for Creator in Residence: STEAM Imaging V Holding the ‘Digital’ in Medicine to Account. This unique residency is open to masters & PhD students Edinburgh College of Art and the wider The University of Edinburgh. We are extending the deadline to enable a wider range of applicants to take part, and we are also holding a new in-person Q&A event so that you can connect with our partners at Fraunhofer MEVIS and ask any questions you may have about the residency.

Q&A Event

Chris Speed, Edinburgh Futures Institute, and Bianka Hofmann, Fraunhofer MEVIS participated at a Q&A event on Wednesday the 14. June at 16:00 at Inspace – thank you to everyone able to join us on the day. We have now added key insights and questions from that session to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section on this page.

About the Call

The Institute of Design Informatics are delighted to announce a new call for creative students to propose ideas for the creator in residence ‘STEAM Imaging V – Holding the ‘Digital’ in Medicine to Account;’ an exciting residency hosted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Medicine MEVIS in Bremen, Germany, in collaboration with the Institute for Design Informatics, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, the International Fraunhofer Talent School Bremen, and the School Center Walle, Bremen, Germany, supported by Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria.

Creating digital medicine that serves a diverse range of doctors and patients requires expertise, time, and dedication. Who is developing new technologies in digital medicine? And who is creating the stories, images, and sounds to represent the new digital solutions in medicine and shape how it is interpreted? STEAM Imaging V aims to foster engagement with and ownership of future technologies, to add interdisciplinary on-site and online methods and new approaches to artwork development and STEM teaching by connecting digital medicine to education, and to be open to arts and humanities. The call is open to current masters and PhD students at the University of Edinburgh. We are looking for a student artist, designer, creative thinker, or creator interested in the research and developments in digital medicine at Fraunhofer MEVIS for this exciting opportunity.

The selected Creator in Residence will work closely in collaboration with Fraunhofer MEVIS scientists on-site in Bremen, Germany, for a two-week residential period in November 2023 and a further six weeks of remote support. An integral part of the programme is the design and realization of a joint STEAM 2-day workshop for school students. The residency also includes tailored mentorship and support.

The successful applicant will have opportunity to explore and discuss Fraunhofer MEVIS’ innovative R&D work, software, and technologies, as well as the societal implications of innovations in digital medicine.

The Creator in Residence is supported by funding including: artist stipend, production budget and travel and artwork transportation costs (full details in the call document). They will be expected to create a new piece of artwork as well as co-creating a STEAM workshop in Bremen, related to the development of the artwork, and STEAM engagement events and exhibition of the work in Edinburgh at the Inspace Gallery in March/April 2024.

The full call text is available here. The call criteria can be accessed here – please note the call is open to current masters and PhD students at the University of Edinburgh. Applications have now been extended to 21st June 2023 (5pm).

Applications should be submitted by email and include a completed equality, diversity and inclusion monitoring form – for more details see the call document.

Please contact the Design Informatics team (designinformatics@ed.ac.uk) if you would like further information about applying.


Q1) Is this residency open to anyone?

A1) No, this residency is only open to masters and PhD students at the University of Edinburgh. However, we are open to all kinds of creative proposals so you do not need to be undertaking a degree in an art-related subject in order to submit a proposal. This is a highly interdisciplinary call and we welcome applications creative postgraduates from all backgrounds.

Q2) Is this a funded opportunity?

A2) Yes, this is a funded opportunity. The winning creator will receive, via the Institute for Design Informatics, an artist stipend of 5000 EURO, a production budget of 4000 Euro; travel costs of up to 500 EURO, travel subsidy of 450 EURO, and artwork transportation costs of up to 250 EURO. Accommodation costs in Bremen, Germany, up to 1050 EURO, are covered directly by the host.

Q3) Do I need to travel to undertake the residency?

A3) Yes, there is a two-week stay at the Research Institute in Bremen, Germany, at the start of the residency, and you will need to be able to undertake this travel. However, the majority of work associated with the residency can be undertaken in Edinburgh – and you can call on the support of the Institute for Design Informatics as useful.

Q4) Can you tell me more about what Fraunhofer MEVIS do?

A4) Fraunhofer MEVIS is entirely dedicated to digital medicine, with around 150 staff and aims to resolve the rapidly increasing complexity in healthcare. The MEVIS scientists conceive and develop new medical imaging sequences and software that help to improve safety, productivity and quality in medicine through better data integration and interpretation. MEVIS works with companies and with 120 clinical partners around the globe.

Fraunhofer MEVIS is part of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft – the Largest Society for Applied Science in Europe. 30k employees. 40 locations across Germany and beyond. Its research units, stretch from Europe to the US to Japan and including centres in Glasgow and Dublin, and involve specialist teams working on both publicly funded research and industry projects.

Q5) What kind of people would I get to meet through the MEVIS residency?

A5) The MEVIS team come from a diverse range of backgrounds. The STEAM core team at MEVIS includes a mathematician, a medical product quality assurance representative, a sciart producer, an expert in MRI physics, a radiologist, and a mixed reality researcher, amongst other professionals.

The STEAM core team is a special team, open to bringing wider backgrounds into the collaboration and conversations. It’s a very special group to work with.

Q6) What is the environment and working culture of MEVIS like?

A6) It is a very interdisciplinary working culture, bringing diverse expertise together to work together in transparent and open collaborations. In terms of the physical environment most of the work takes place at computers rather than in lab environments, apart from the MR lab.

MEVIS is based in Bremen, a small working-class, and very bicycle-friendly city.

Q7) This residency is STEAM Imaging V – who were / are previous partner?

A7) STEAM Imaging has been a collaborative project since 2017 with:

  • Ars Electronica, Linz (AT), Yen Tzu Chang, with Whose Scalpel
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (SG), Ernest Wu and Jake Tan, with Patient Bonsai
  • Taiwan Sound Lab (TW), Yen Tzu Chang with Whose Scalpel 2.0.
  • UCLA Art Sci Center, Los Angeles (US), Eli Joteva, with IntraBeing and Zeynep Abes, with Moments Within
  • Institute for Design Informatics, UoE (UK)

Q8) What is the thematic focus for this call?

A8) We have teamed up with IDI (the Institute for Design Informatics) and their focus on data as a material. The theme is “Holding the “Digital” in Medicine to Account. Looking beyond the premises of new tech and data-driven tools to explore the influence on medicine and health and the interactions of all those involved. We aim to establish a critical understanding of aspects of the influence of these new possibilities as they increasingly pervade medicine, our understanding of health, and the interaction of all involved, in the process of developing these new technologies.

Q9) What might an art work made with medical imaging data look like?

A9) There are lots of ways to interpret this data into creative work – and that can be any form of creative piece. Some examples include:

  • SciArt works on emerging technologies, e.g. Beauty of Blood Flow Analysis (see: https://s.fhg.de/Niw ) by Fraunhofer MEVIS.
  • Turkish artist, Zeynep Abes undertook work on memory for their STEAM residency (https://s.fhg.de/iNj and https://s.fhg.de/7Ci ), and, as she was very strong on community work we engaged not only with school students but also with their family and friends as she developed her work. That exploration of memories with the community brought in Alzheimer’s Disease, all kinds of questions around memories and she also made her experience with her grandfather and his memory part of the artwork.
  • MEVIS host a permanent installation by Eli Joteva (IntaBeing Extended View https://s.fhg.de/c5i and https://s.fhg.de/hv4 ) of the artist’s vagina and ovaries – using DTI imaging, usually applied to acquire nerve fibres in the brain, to tackle the topic of women’s reproductive health. The artist used this work and its development to speak about the exclusion of women’s bodies in medical research and clinical studies – because of the variability during the menstrual cycle.

In the current STEAM Imaging Call, we are explicitly open to other forms of art and creativity, not only ‘media art’ or screen based work, hence, “Creator in Residence”.

Q10) What is the hope for the STEAM residencies? Why connect artists with digital medicine?

A10) STEAM Imaging provides an outsider’s perspective on digital medicine, connects it with societal questions, and with a diverse and broader audience. The Art-research alliance enables students to come to medical issues with a different creative lens. In addition, in this residency program, we have a strong focus on mutual learning with the artist and with the next generation, integrating a 2-days STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) workshop for young people, held by the artist and MEVIS scientists who develop the content together.

For example, the outcome of STEAM Imaging I was ‘Whose Scalpel’, by Yen Tzu Chang (https://s.fhg.de/qw8 and https://s.fhg.de/w9N ). Whose Scalpel, addresses the question of what humans lose when a computer takes charge. She created a supersized 3D print of her own heart as a sound converter and a performance as a surgeon within the setting of an operation room, guided by an AI.

Q11) What other kinds of support do you provide for the selected Creator in Residence?

A11) We support creators to disseminate their work – for instance Yen Tzu Chang’s work went to conferences, festivals, and art festivals, and has been published in Journals, book chapter and in broader media. We explicitly support the dissemination. Inspace is the start. Ars Electronica supports the promotion.

Q12) What is the timeline for the residency?

A12) This is outlined in the call document. But broadly it looks like:

November – Phase 1: The selected creator will work for two weeks in November in close contact with researchers in Bremen, working in scheduled modules to develop an artwork concept.The MR laboratory and image acquisition possibilities are explicitly available to the creator. We will also develop a joint STEAM workshop with school students – building on a basic introduction to medical imaging. But we can build on that, bringing in the artist’s specific skills. We intentionally blur barriers between artists and scientists.

Before Dec 31 – Phase 2: Remote interactions with the scientists and support from IDI.

Spring 2024 – Phase 3: Featuring your body of artwork at InSpace Gallery and discussing with a broader public – ideally workshops with school pupils in Edinburgh too. Part of MEVIS team will be on-site.

Q13) Thinking about the residency and the MEVIS scientists – what is the relationship with data there? How is data in their everyday working life?

A13) It is a very mixed team all using data in different ways. For instance:

  • We have a radiologist, working with breast images and mammography data.
  • Our head of MR Physics researches and develops MR sequences – MR-scanners can use different so-called sequences, and scientists develop new sequences and new ways to acquire images, e.g. our video on blood flow (See Q9) is one of these. So, he works with medical images – but that’s the output, his focus is on MR scanner data.
  • For our AR-expert, they work on transferring pre-operational planning maps to augmented reality glasses, and working with visualisation data.

Looking across the wider MEVIS, it was founded on two pillars: breast diagnosis, with around 25 mathematicians who digitised mammography in Germany; and pre-operational planning for liver surgery.

In liver surgery planning, clinicians provide CT slides of the liver, and a team of medical technical assistants, under the supervision of a medic, build a 3D model. Livers can regenerate, but if you cut the wrong branch, you risk cutting off the blood supply. Imaging and 3D models make planning for safe surgery possible. That pre-operational planning is also used in other surgical contexts, such as separation of conjoined twins. For oncological liver surgery it used to be the case that surgery planning data was often printed out and pinned to the wall in the operating room, MEVIS brought it in in digital form (via a tablet), and currently working bringing that planning data/visualisation to AR glasses.

Q14) Is it only medical imaging data that is used in these contexts?

A14) Know, it’s also about how you connect medical image data, with other data, such as blood sample data, data on medical conditions in the family etc. AI also helps to put our own data in the context of other similar types of patient/groups of features and identify effective treatments and approaches. So, an individual’s data is used not only in their own treatment, but can be used to help others.

Q15) How does this kind of data and data use connect to design?

A15) So, from a design point of view data here can be used in decision making; data for visualisation, for understanding. Data is a material but operationalised in different ways and that can include in context of making processes more efficient, of rethinking how something is done through service design etc.

There is also an element of design and process design in understanding the quality and meaning of the imagery. And we can combine data from different imaging methods, such as ultrasound and MR. So, for instance, let’s say a breast tissue feels suspicious, you get an MR image and you need a biopsy. The doctor would use ultrasound to guide the needle to perform the biopsy. During the MR scan, the women lays on her belly – the breast is pressed, but the biopsy and ultrasound are done while the woman is sitting….to match the region of interest, you can combine low resolution ultrasound with an MR image that contains more information. The doctor can perform the biopsy using an ultrasound, integrating the information from the MR image.

Q16) What is the “Holding to Account” part of the brief for this call about?

A16) The collective perspective is about the wellbeing of the human but there are various ways in which we might “hold to account” these processes and technologies.

Sometimes there are tensions between clinicians, who may focus on extending life, and public health experts, who may focus more on quality of life and negotiations with the patient. The same data given to different people can lead to different conclusions or perspectives on the best way forward.

There are some approaches that can also raise complex questions, for instance the idea of a “digital twin” ( https://s.fhg.de/z82 ). The concept has huge potential, but the challenge of a “digital twin” is that the body isn’t fixed… you age, gain or lose weight, even drink a lot or less during a day and you differ from your twin.

We don’t usually make an image of the whole body or the whole brain, you normally examine the key areas of pain/issue. But we have models, simulations and reconstructions. The (video) reconstruction and simulation of the blood flow in the heart was inspired by aerodynamic modelling and simulations. But it still must take into account the ever-changing, ever-moving nature of the body: taking breathing into account  – a cervix doesn’t significantly move with breathing, but the liver will move to a notable extent.

A model is one use of a data set to speculate reality. And models are generally based on a specific patient, for a certain moment in time. So, that “holding to account” may also be about the model and how a clinician can trust and put confidence in that model when understanding the patient.

Q17) How does diversity factor into your work with data?

A17) Obviously there are questions of training data for any process using AI, but data and bias in data sets is a live topic across medicine much more broadly. For instance, in quality assurance around medical imaging, the FDA approval processes now include a requirement to prove that the data in use was representative and diverse. Funding and approval structures require that awareness of diversity, and after years of data sets across medicine not always being representative of the whole relevant population, that has refocused minds.

And the individuals in the MEVIS team are very open to taking the discussion on data personally and engaging with those challenging questions.

Q18) Can you say more about AI and some of the issues that may be interesting to explore around accuracy, error, and quality?

A18) If you look at, for instance, AI which is trained to recognise the liver organ in medical images, you can see the AI trying to learn the segmentation within the body. But then you put in an image of a dissected liver, and then the AI doesn’t recognise it as liver. Which is interesting…  At MEVIS we look to resolve issues, and have a culture of focusing on the issue, “bug fixing”. For some people, that is challenging but it comes from the perspective of understanding the errors. And when it comes to AI, sometimes it is important to ask what is an error, and what is part of the design of the system or choice of data  ask, “is it an error” when the data is biased or when marginalised groups are excluded.

This whole question of “what is an error?” in AI is important. As a clinician, you also have guidelines that you have to follow, and you have to record and document if an unexpected or even unwanted outcome occurs. But with AI – if an error occurs, who is responsible – the software developer, the company, or the clinician…?

For example, AI tools on the market can detect skin cancer. In one case, a trained AI model learned to recognise the marker doctors made on the skin of the patients instead of suspicious skin spots on the skin.

Understanding potential “error” and/or “design” issues – particularly in terms of the diversity of data used in research (including but not limited to training AI), or to develop new processes and understandings – is also about bigger institutional and cultural challenges. Those, often quite monocultural contexts, really benefit from a critical and artistic lens that can raise new questions, which is one of the benefits from these residencies.

Q19) Does MEVIS apply digital solutions to other types of health – medical, psychological counselling etc?

A19) No, MEVIS has roots in medical imaging, diagnostics, treatment planning and monitoring, and surgery so not usually. However, there is some potential connection to the mental health elements of doctor-patient relationships, and there are some physical conditions connected to mental health.

For instance, there is a “broken heart” syndrome which can occur when a person experiences sudden acute stress that can rapidly weaken the heart muscle – a physical representation of heartbreak. And also, for instance, the liver and alcohol addiction, or COPD and addictive smoking behaviours.

However, in developing an application for this call around mental health, we’d recommend focusing on areas with a clear connection to MEVIS R&D (rather than more tangential areas such as obesity, depression, body shaming). Oncology is often the most applicable area for this – it is very tied to psychological pressure, even depression, and we’ve seen some very interesting work in this space from colleagues that ties to patient experience and wellbeing. For instance, a radiologist colleague developed her own learning application for patients about breast imaging because she found that existing patient information material didn’t communicate or help her patients sufficiently.

Q20) Could I explore a medical condition that has affected me or my family directly in the past?

A20) Yes, you could certainly do this. We had an artist looking at the variation of memories, Zenep Abes. She created a work called Moments Within, integrating sounds from her grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Her panel talk at the Institute really touched the staff. The residency is definitely a space to bring in personal experiences and explore them.

Q21) How does the collaborative process between the artist and MEVIS scientists to develop the school workshops work?

A18) It is a truly collaborative process, and we always bear in mind what the artist is doing and work that into the workshops. We have a process and some forms of tested workshops, but we are very much open to the interests and skills of the artist. And it could be visual or dance or poetry or pottery. We always think about we can bring forward as a team, who is involved and resonates, and what would the artist like?

Q21) What are the expectations for the application here? What is the deadline?

A21) The new extended deadline is 21st June 2023. Please contact us if you have any questions about this. We ask you provide information on you, your idea, and your previous work as part of the proposal but we are very open in terms of format, length, etc. Full details are included in the call document. If you have any questions, please email designinformatics@ed.ac.uk.