Pandemics, Protests, and Pronouns: The Changing Landscape of Biomedical Visualisation and Education

Gabrielle M. Finn*, Rebecca Quinn, Katherine Sanders, William Ballard, Abisola Balogun-Katung, Angelique N. Dueñas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Events in early 2020 changed the landscape of education for the foreseeable future, perhaps permanently. Three events had a significant impact; (1) the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, (2) the death of George Floyd, which resulted in the most recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, and (3) the Twitter storm, the resultant societal fallout and freedom of speech campaigns, following comments made by author JK Rowling which many deemed transphobic. These events had a differential impact on biomedical sciences, when compared to other sectors. COVID-19 resulted in a global lockdown, with higher education institutions closing campuses and moving to online-only delivery. This rapid change required radical shifts in the use of technology, with mass delivery of teaching at short notice. The BLM protests further raised awareness of the inequalities within society, particularly those experienced by Black people and other oppressed groups. As a result, there have been calls for the decolonisation of the curriculum. The implications of these three key events have led institutions to rethink their policies, teaching delivery, assessment, curricula, and physical environments. This chapter considers (1) the implications of a swift change in the primary mode of curriculum delivery within Higher Education to online formats and (2) how recent adverse events have resulted in calls for much-needed changes in visual representations within biomedical sciences. Finally, we consider (3) the role of the hidden curriculum and the potential impact of visual representations in curricula on the delivery of healthcare and the fight against health inequalities, which are often as a result of implicit biases. The year 2020 has proven timely in presenting the opportunity for change, provided through the power of imagery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Black Lives Matter
  • COVID-19
  • Decolonisation
  • Diversity
  • Education
  • Gender
  • Healthcare education
  • Hidden curriculum
  • Imaging
  • Learners
  • Medical education
  • Pandemic
  • Pedagogy
  • Students
  • Technology-enhanced learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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