Getting your teeth into the humanities


Sir, – The value of the humanities, in a world dominated by technology, was highlighted in your excellent article “The art of medical observation” (Deirdre McQuillan, Health + Family, January 1st).

A comparable teaching model of using art to hone observational skills, develop teamwork, accept ambiguity and to exchange ideas is integrated into the curriculum for dental students in UCC.

A compulsory and valued component of the curriculum, it ordinarily involves lectures and trips to the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork.

In October, due to Covid-19, it was decided to deliver the programme online to first-year dental students.

This particular class of 64 students, who are currently based in Canada, the US, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Ireland, has yet to meet each other in person due to pandemic restrictions.

Physically disconnected they may be but their response to the teaching was overwhelmingly positive. The interactive, diverse, engaging conversations focusing on the works of art had a bonus result.

The students reported enjoying the interactive nature of the teaching and felt it allowed them the chance to get to know each other and feel more connected.

The art of a good conversation, indeed. – Yours, etc,


Clinical Dental Tutor,

Cork University

Dental School and Hospital,