Ed Hughes is an internationally acclaimed speaker and teacher.  Known most widely for his work in medical science, Ed is now providing presentations and workshops to corporate and academic clients, interested in the links between art and science.  These visual journeys will encourage teams and individuals to open new doors on creativity and communication.

Three brief presentation and workshop summaries are included below:

Presentation 1: Talking pictures: art as a healing tool

Language is our greatest survival tool.  When it comes to communication, we rely almost exclusively on written and spoken words.  We get what we need and want, through their careful choice.  Yet we don’t dream in words.  Instead, our subconscious minds choose pictures and feelings in which to drift and swim.  And of course, dreams and feelings give us more honest reflections of who we really are, than words ever can.  So why do we deny and suppress these dreams and pictures in favor of words?

All of us drew and painted as children, but most of us left that passion behind around the age of 10.  It was then that we began to seek perfection in our pictures (and why that happens is another interesting story).  No longer happy to paint dreams and feelings, we started to long for perfect representations of cars and planes, of faces and flowers.  But of course, most of us were clueless when it came to representational drawing and quickly became so dissatisfied with our works of art, so afraid to show them to others, that we stopped drawing altogether.  Instead, we invested everything we had in words and numbers.  A few lucky stragglers learned to use the tools of art, visual or otherwise, and carried on using them for pleasure and excitement or creative dreaming. (David Bowie was described by his teachers as a n’er-do-well, unlikely to succeed in anything.  John Lennon received the same acclaim from his elders and betters.) The rest of us failed the “picture-perfect test” and put away our markers and paints for good.

Is that a problem?  Why should we care if we stopped drawing as we rolled into puberty?  Well, art is a universal and timeless expression of who we are.  Pictures are magical. They hold and share truths that words cannot.  Ask a child or a woman to “speak” her pain, and then ask her to draw how she feels.  You and she may be surprised to “see” how her pictures show the truth of it all, while her words may miss the mark.  We choose words so carefully, and as a result, can hide a lot behind them.  That’s much harder to do with pictures.

Ed Hughes has been a painter all his life, and an MD and REI specialist for the latter part of it.  Throughout Ed’s professional career, he has integrated visual images into his work environment.   By providing a gallery setting for his patients and staff and more recently, by working in the fields of Art Therapy and History, Ed has tried to use pictures in different ways, to help patients and staff to become more whole.

In this session, Ed will focus on the value of images in expressing and understanding feelings.  Images made by fertility patients will be used, along with many other pictures, to show how useful art can be in the quest for a better understanding of who we are and how we feel and cope with our burdens.

The session’s objectives are to consider the following questions:

-       What is art?

-       Why are pictures often more revealing and more “true” than words?

-       How can we access and perhaps rekindle our own suppressed creativity?

Workshop 1. “Talking pictures” workshop: using images to improve communication within your team

During this workshop, you’ll actually get your hands on some art stuff again.  Don’t panic – this will be a non-threatening, fun but revealing experience.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

- See how pictures can deepen our awareness of self and others

- Help us reclaim some serious magic, lost to most of us around the age of 10

- Give ourselves permission to grow in personal creativity, at work and at home

- Think about how this approach might be used as a medium for team building

If you have young children, this workshop is a must.  It will help you reconnect with them as a fellow artists and will improve their respect for you immensely.  Well maybe not immensely, but they’ll surely consider you extremely cool if you bring home colorful pictures that you chose to make in Vegas.  No (absolutely zero, nada) artistic ability is required.  In fact being “unable to draw” is strength and an attribute when it comes to this type of picture making.  No one will critique or criticize what you make, but you’ll see a little bit of your soul in your pictures if you take a chance and join this workshop.

Presentation 2. The History of Reproduction Through Art: a Visual Journey from Caves to Chromosomes

The creation of visual art is as old as mankind.  So are sex and reproduction.  Ed Hughes will knit these elements together, to enrich your understanding of how strongly visual art relates to our daily work, and how art has been used so effectively as a tool to advance and communicate scientific findings over the ages.

From the magical explorations of Da Vinci, though the anatomy classes of Vesalius, to the art of “modern” times, all of which express the mysteries of reproduction, this presentation relies on some wonderful visual art, as it relates to reproduction.  From cave paintings to Greek mythology, through the blooming of science during the Renaissance, and the crescendo and decay of modern times: see where we’ve come from and how recently we arrived at our current understanding of how reproduction actually works.

This presentation includes about 100 images of art as it relates to reproduction.  The pictures themselves are inspiring, and so is the secondary message of the talk: we rarely attend to the history of our science and most of us know little about it.  The advances that we take for granted, are very recent.  Only five lifetimes ago, Galileo stood before, and was imprisoned by the Inquisition for defending his view of the universe.  Only two lifetimes ago, Pasteur finally demonstrated that bacteria did not arise by “spontaneous generation” and when I was just a nipper myself, Watson and Crick first drew the double helix.  We spend so much time and energy focusing on the details and minutia of modern medicine, but tend to forget how recently we arrived here, and how fantastic was the journey. The pictures of this presentation tell that story.


1. To examine the many connections between art and science

2. To track these connections from ancient through modern times

3. To use art as a reminder of where we are today in our scientific understanding, and how very recently we arrived here.