LASER Talks in Liverpool | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

LASER Talks in Liverpool

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LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) is Leonardo/ISAST's international program of evening gatherings that brings artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations.

CHAIRS: Caroline Wilkinson and Mark Roughley

Join Liverpool LASER for our inaugural event - The art and science of facial identity


  • Gina Czarnecki (artist) and Professor John Hunt (clinical scientist) Bioart and bioethics - Taking Heirloom forward
  • Professor Partha Vaiude (plastic surgeon) Surgical-Art - An Artistic Exploration of Facial Topography in Surgical Practice
  • Professor Caroline Wilkinson (forensic artist) Forensic and archaeological facial depiction and cognitive bias

Our speakers will present for 20 minutes each on their practice and research followed by an open discussion for approximately 40 minutes.

A selection of hot and cold refreshments is provided.

Taking Heirloom forward

Gina Czarnecki and Professor John Hunt

Heirloom grows living portraits of Gina’s daughters from their own cells that have been cultured from a single sample taken from their mouths in 2014. They grow on delicate glass casts of their faces in the life support system that provides the best conditions for growth, outside the lab.

Heirloom is co-authored between artist Gina Czarnecki & Professor John Hunt, Nottingham Trent University and has been exhibited internationally since its completion in May 2016. Gina and John aim to develop Heirloom to grow layers of cells on anatomically correct structures to fit perfectly the shape of a subjects face - “Fitting to the skin you're in. Growing tissues that fit". This involves developing the scientific research a) for consistency in lifting 3D skin scaffolds and b) developing the method and media towards possible maxillofacial medical applications that will anatomically match the patient. For Heirloom, they conduct this work in a public space to present the ongoing work live for it to viewed as both science and art with an aim to raise ethical questions. An accessible or visible space is ideal as it presents aspects of future regenerative therapies to the public directly for these concepts and approaches relating to cell therapies and stem cell issues to be known, considered and discussed.

Surgical-Art - An Artistic Exploration of Facial Topography in Surgical Practice

Partha Vaiude

Professor Vaiude is a plastic & reconstructive surgeon, surgical trainer and educational innovator. He commenced surgical practice within the NHS in 2000 and his formal training culminated in becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons specialising in Plastic Surgery. Professor Vaiude did his specialist training in Merseyside where he gained a craniofacial Fellowship at Alder Hey Children's Hospital. It is here that he is also the lead surgeon for a unique hair reconstruction service that is being pioneered to offer reconstructive hair transplant surgery for children with hair loss from burns, injuries or surgery. As Managing Director and Faculty Lead for Surgical-Art, Professor Vaiude spends much of his time teaching surgical skills, communication and uniquely, as an exhibited artist himself, 'artistic perspectives for surgery'. His goal is to advance surgical training methods and to bring to the fore lesser taught components such as ethical practice and an understanding of the 'art' of Plastic Surgery and he aspires to provide the highest level of quality through innovation or collaboration in every course. He has a number of innovations to his credit, including the face reconstruction mask which has been recognised nationally.

"The face is undeniably the most complex anatomical landscape, designed for higher order function, interaction and identity. It is my belief that, for facial reconstruction, anatomical knowledge and surgical dexterity alone fall short. Planning a reconstruction on this unique topography requires an artistic perspective, gained through multi disciplinary training, to achieve a harmonious and bespoke result."

Forensic and archaeological facial depiction and cognitive bias

Professor Caroline Wilkinson

Professor Caroline Wilkinson took up the post of Director of Liverpool School of Art & Design in October 2014. She has a background in art and science and her research and creative work sits at the forefront of art-science fusion and includes subjects as diverse as forensic art, human anatomy, medical art, face recognition, forensic science, anthropology, 3D visualisation, digital art and craniofacial identification. She is Director of the Face Lab, a LJMU research group based in Liverpool Science Park. The Face Lab carries out forensic/archaeological research and consultancy work and this includes craniofacial analysis, facial depiction and forensic art.

Craniofacial depiction from skeletal remains utilises anatomical standards and anthropometry to ensure the methodology of facial feature prediction is rigorous and reliable. However, the addition of skin colour, hair colour, expression, clothing and hairstyle is reliant on historical knowledge, DNA analysis and artistic interpretation and this may be influenced by preconceived ideas and context. Professor Wilkinson will discuss the cognitive bias associated with the depiction of faces from the past and how this also might affect forensic investigation.



LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) Talks is Leonardo's international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations. LASER Talks were founded in 2008 by Bay Area LASER Chair Piero Scaruffi and are in over 30 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website

The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.

March 14th, 2018 from  5:30 PM to  7:30 PM
Liverpool School of Art and Design, Public Exhibition Space and X-Gallery
2 Duckinfield St
Liverpool, L3 5RD
United Kingdom
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