13th October 2000 at 01:00
Where does art begin and science end? How do the new technologies fit into the picture? While arts campaigners are making headway in bringing back a balanced curriculum, some of the major galleries and museums are acknowledging a blurring of the boundaries. The exhibition Spectacular Bodies at the Hayward Gallery in London from October 19 is subtitled "The Art and Science of the Human Body from Leonardo to Now".

Anatomical drawings may be beautiful; an artist represents the human body accurately or distorted according to a particular vision, but he or she will probably have benefited from studying the human form in life classes. The doctor and the artist respond in their different ways to the expression of emotion, to movement, sickness and death.

This gathering together of 320 works from 80 museums and collections around the world includes paintings and drawings by Leonardo, Duerer, Rembrandt and Michelangelo, prints, engravings, sculptures revealing muscle structure, and 18th century wax models showing every vein and artery as well as historical medical books and instruments.

There are photographs, installations and video footage from contemporary artists, some of them made specially for this exhibition.

Human dissection was often performed in public in the less squeamish 17th and 18th centuries, and there is a sequence of group portraits in Spectacular Bodies showing famous Dutch surgeons at work before an audience. There are many surprises and I particularly like the mid-18th century wax sculpture, "Anatomy of a Seated Woman", from the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris. She sits, nude, reacting genteelly to some unexpected or unpleasant sight - and revealing all her neatly packed internal organs.

There is an impressive programme of educational events, including Germaine Greer talking about hysteria with the artist Beth B, whose installation of the same name is in the exhibition, and Jonathan Miller discussing self-knowledge with the curators. There are related literary events on the South Bank and a series of student debates as well as drop-in and half-term workshops for children. And simplest - and in some ways most exciting of all - on Sundays, between 2 and 5pm, gallery guides will provide drawing materials for all ages. Draw a Rembrandt; draw each other. For information about events and workshops, and to obtain a free teacher's pack, tel: 020 7921 0951.

The Hayward, like most galleries, has a website - Now the three South Kensington museums have taken new technology a step further and the Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert museums have joined Fathom (www.fathom. com), a consortium of leading international cultural institutions, including the American Film Institute and the British Library.

If scientific accuracy is what you seek, you had better avoid Dinosaur (PG), the new animation from Disney. This is really the old Western frontier story rewritten (just) for tough-skinned, lumbering upholders of the American Way. So no change there. The animation is, of course, excellent, but after Jurassic Park and Walking with Dinosaurs anyone entering the pre-history zone has got to have more thn a way with technology. A meteorite strikes Earth but not all the dinosaurs perish. All sorts, except the carnivores who play the role of old-style "Indians", journey together to a promised land and learn to dwell in peace, with the help of some cute (or not, according to your point of view) monkeys which look destined for the cuddly toy market. There is a saurian love story (long necks rubbing, but, thankfully, no kissing), bloody fights and kindness shown to the old and infirm.

The best bit for me was suddenly realising that one of the doddery old creatures (a brachiosaur?) was voiced by Joan Plowright, doyenne of the British stage and widow of Lord Olivier. Good to hear those sensible Lancashire tones among the LA twangs.

Jump forward several thousand years and you come to early civilisation in Ancient Egypt: Digging for Dreams. This is an interactive exhibition which promises to raise questions about how we look at and interpret the past. If you haven't had enough of heads and hands at the Hayward, you can see mummified ones here, at the Croydon Clocktower. There are audio-visual displays, computer tours of European museums, talks, storytelling, giant pyramid building and hieroglyphic writing demonstrations. Pre-booked and school groups pay only pound;1 each and there are free "happy hours" on Wednesdays and Sundays. Tickets: 0208 253 1030. The exhibition moves to the Burrell Collection in Glasgow in March.

Travel north across London and forward by another 3,000 years or so and you might possibly arrive at Ashmount junior school in Islington. Last week, a group of actors from the Almeida Theatre's education department, under their director, Ben Harrington, found themselves there to perform The Last Valentine. The fashionable Islington theatre has become famous for presenting stars such as Kevin Spacey and Ralph Fiennes; the education side of its activities is at a fairly early stage, but this project is a daring one. The poet Glyn Maxwell has written a new piece, in verse, for key stages 2 and 3. It deals with the relationship of a group of teenagers to an outsider, Ray. Ray has a posh voice and is generally nerdish. The friends, led by Luce, play a nasty trick on him, getting him to wait for a girl they have invented while they watch and giggle. Well, that's the plan. Ray's patience and then his beating up by the local gang whose territory he has invaded cause complicated reactions.

This is is a real, many-layered play with plenty to talk about. It is followed by writing workshops, some involving Glyn Maxwell himself, and, after the schools tour, there will be performances at the Almeida Theatre between October 16 and 20. Information: 020 7359 4404.

There will soon be a new production of The Tempest at the Almeida (previewing from December 7), which will be reviewed on The TES website. The National Theatre's latest Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, has just joined the plays reviewed there: It is still National Poetry Day as I write, but poetry is not just for one day a year - as Poetryclass, the new Poetry Society DfEE Inset workshops and website (, proves. More on this in the next few weeks.

Heather Neill

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