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Workshops and Events – see all

Workshops Lectures Education

The performance of public dissection has a long and torrid history, full of censorship, condemnation, and quite a lot of inspiration.

Education is a critical part of the work we do. We offer a number of workshops and public dissection opportunities. Below is a list of prepared presentations, but that’s not all we do. Please contact us if you have an idea or specific request.

All lectures, presentations, and dissections are heavily reliant on audience participation. These are not the same sorts of lectures you may have experienced before. I believe in a model that requires direct input and investment of the participants in order to foster an environment focused on making connections and discovery. I choose to switch my role from presenter to moderator depending on the discussions at hand, which means that participants have a heavy influence on the direction of each lecture. Debates arise, and sometimes even a few arguments erupt. This is not to say that the structure is unorganized, chaotic and without concrete information, however there is always time built in to each presentation for a few “rabbit holes.” By the end, you will not go home with a notebook full of names, dates, and terms from the topics; but hopefully the names and contact details of those who you would like to continue a conversation with over coffee (or a cat).

OPEN STUDIO (usually between 4-6 hours)


From time to time, an interesting thing comes along that I feel would be a good specimen to share with others. For these specimens I open up the studio doors to anyone who cares to come to watch the process. These events are always free. Please be sure to add yourself to the Meddling with Nature Facebook page for updates. Some of these are planned far in advance; others are nearly immediate depending on what I may have found on the way home from the grocery store.

Always free! 
Wax Anatomy
Adam and Nate Wessel

WORKSHOP


Anatomy for the Artist
3 hours

$20.00 a student
minimum of 10 students, 20 maximum
Institution and group flat rates available

Anatomy for the Artist

In the spirit of the universities during the age of enlightenment, students will have direct control over the dissection process. Built as a studio class, I will encourage artists to request positioning and dissection for the purpose of drawing or sculpting. Several specimens, some full, others predissected or partial, will be made available allowing a number of arrangements and possibilities for each student. Osteological (including some human) and preserved (fixed) specimens will be available for inspection, reference, and comparison. Lecture is very minimal and mostly restricted to questions and answers allowing a maximum amount of time for individuals to work.

coyote organ system laid out after dissection
Public dissection of a coyote at the art academy of cincinnati

WORKSHOP


Intro to Making New Friends
3.5 hours

$60.00 a student
minimum of 10 students required,
maximum of 20
Institution and group flat rates available

Intro to Making New Friends

This introductory presentation covers the basics of taxidermy. This is a stand-alone introduction course, but is also Session 1 of the Taxidermy Tutorial Series (see below)

Over the course of 3 hours students will learn the process of taxidermy from an icy frozen corpse to a finished mount. This presentation uses visual examples and handouts to explain the process. Due to time limitation, the hands on aspect of this program is somewhat limited. I will answer questions regarding the process and present photographs of each step for several different species of animal. This program also briefly covers the proper process for prepping skeletons and skulls using several different methods from boiling in your kitchen to letting nature take its course with little helpers. Overview of tools of the trade will also be discussed. Information on the legal issues around taxidermy will also be addressed.

From Dusk Till Dawn Prop, produced by Robert Rodreguez
Fox dorsal skinning

WORKSHOP


The Naturalist Arts for Filmmakers
3 hours

Please contact for institution rates and honorariums.

The Naturalist Arts for Filmmakers (3 hours)

Filmmakers always have the requirement to make magic happen with little notice and limited funds. Meddling with Nature has had the pleasure of working under these extreme conditions with filmmakers as high profile as Robert Rodriguez, Sundance award winning short film crews and small budget independent films. We have even been called on for prop crisis management for European beer commercials and music videos when the onsite prop masters got a little out of their league. I have worked hard to perfect requirements of business expectation and fast turnaround while providing creative problem solving within very strict budgets.

In this presentation, I discuss how both professional commercial filmmakers and independent creators and film students can prepare themselves for the set design that requires a dead white dove bleeding from neck, a German shepherd vomiting 1 gallon of blood, or even a 20 thousand year old deer. How do people in the film industry effectively procure props quickly and competently? I will describe various avenues for the creation of work and also explain how the taxidermy world works to ensure that designers will be able to understand what they are asking of artists in the field, and what is a reasonable charge for work performed.

Animal props, fake organs, and any manner of gore are a constant in film, I have often found that one of the most time consuming elements of working in film is simply the learning curve of what is and what is not possible given a particular budget. There are also a lot of state and national laws that can get production crews in serious trouble even with the most honest of intentions. I will discuss various laws and tolerances in regards to getting that stamp of approval from American Humane Association for commercial and independent works. With that in mind, we will take a look at the actual taxidermy process to increase participant competency when working in the set design and prop arts.

As part of this presentation, each participant will work with a specimen as well as see pieces of taxidermy in process. This not only enhances the understanding of work flow, but increases abilities to replicate biological material. Need to know the right recopies for on-site faux blood and organ production? Recipes, molding techniques, and applicable references for realism will be described and demonstrated in this seminar.

Please contact for institution rates and honorariums.

Cygnus Olor, mute swan taxidermy on black background
Panthera Tigris

WORKSHOP


Full Taxidermy Workshop
Ten 3 hour sessions

$600.00 
Institution and group flat rates available

Full Taxidermy Workshop 

Over the course of 10 weeks, we will cover the topic of taxidermy start to finish; from step by step guides on mammals, reptiles, and birds, to specimen preservation and concepts of plastination. Fee includes student supplies and specimens, though students are encouraged to forage the roads for interesting subjects! Supplies for the mounting specimens are not provided, but assistance in procurement will be made. No price is ever set in stone, have a proposal? Let’s hear it!

bengal tiger tongue
_MWN8581

EDUCATION & ANATOMY


General Dissection
5 hours

50.00 a student
minimum of 10 students, no maximum
Institution flat rate discounts available.

Location: Cincinnati Metro Area (or other location with special travel considerations)

General Dissection

The act of dissection is to me not only a critical learning process, but ritualistic one as well. In this intimate session, we will complete a dissection of a specimen from the removal of the skin to the separation of each organ. Focus is divided into the following:

  • Surface orientation
  • Motion: muscles and tendons
  • Cardiopulmonary system
  • Digestive system
  • The central nervous system

The purpose of this dissection is to familiarize participants with some of the major components of anatomy and physiology. It is intended for new initiates and requires no previous anatomical knowledge. In fact very little effort is exerted on the use of Latin identifiers, rather the emphasis is on direct touch and experiment.

EDUCATION & ANATOMY 


Experiential History of Anatomy through Dissection
5 hours

$50.00 a student
minimum of 10 students required,
no maximum
Institution and group flat rates available

Experiential History of Anatomy through Dissection

This is really a dissection wrapped up in the bow medical history. In the true nature discovery, we will uncover the insights made while reenacting the experiments of our predecessors by not simply believing but experiencing.Historical topics include:

  • The “Nicaea Ecumenical Council” of Hippocrates and the “Reformation” of Galen: Ancient viewpoints on Anatomy and Physiology
  • The beginning of Enlightenment and Dissection as an Art. (Vesalius)
  • The Foundation of the modern scientific method. (Harvey and Francis Bacon)

Anatomical topics include:

  • The four humors and the pervasive philosophy of pneuma.
  • Comparative anatomy and the search for the “Demiurge.”
  • William Harvey and Circulation.
  • Luigi Aloisio Galvani and the body as an electrical system.

EDUCATION & ANATOMY


Dissection and Its Influence on Art: Renaissance to Post Modern
3 hours

20.00 a student
minimum of 10 students, no maximum
Institution flat rate discounts available.

Dissection and Its Influence on Art: Renaissance to Post Modern (3 hours)

In 1299 Pope Boniface VIII issued a papal bull entitled De Sepolturis which clumsily forbade the usage of human corpses for dissection. However, having understood the devastating consequences, subsequent popes evolved the issue resulting in a dramatic full reversal. This lecture delves into the details of this issue during the 300 years that followed De Sepolturis, the cultural landscape as well as the circumstances that formed it. We will then explore the wider scope of impact throughout the renaissance and following eras including the anatomical wax schools, key medical illustrators, and other anatomically influenced artists. We will end at our current period with discussions on the works of scientist/artists like Gunther von Hagens.

EDUCATION & ANATOMY


Dissection and Ethics
3 hours

20.00 a student
minimum of 10 students, no maximum
Institution flat rate discounts available
The above two lectures can be combined

Dissection and Ethics

Traveling down a different road than Human Anatomy, Dissection and its influence on Art, this course follows the same timeline but chooses a different path for its focus. We will explore some of the more complex issues of ethics and look into the wild passion that we as a species posses that can sometimes become blinded by potential. We will look at everything from the usage of Crusader soldiers bodies in the 1200’s to Chinese prisoners in our own time.

LECTURES


Predeterministic Philosophy of the Body:
Asclepius to DNA
4 hours

30.00 a student
minimum of 10 students, no maximum
Institution flat rate discounts available.

Predeterministic Philosophy of the Body: Asclepius to DNA

This four hour lecture discusses the changes in the philosophy of the body from ancient Greece to the modern DNA manipulation. The common thread of this discussion is from the perspective of predeterminism and determinism which became a critical part of medical practice early on and how it resurges with each major advancement, even today. We will look at how our concept of self has changed and look at the instigators for these changes. Final analysis of the dangers we face in our medical future. Are we at risk of a Eugenics revolution? How much control do we require over our own evolution, and what needs are we addressing with species-alteration? We will look at how culture has reacted to medical breakthroughs throughout the last 2500 years as a way to determine our likely progress in the near and distant future, from farming and genetic engineering to prosthetics, laboratory grown organs and designer children.

LECTURE


Medical Practice and Physical Examination:
3 thousand years in 3 hours
3 hours

20.00 a student
minimum of 10 students, no maximum
Institution flat rate discounts available.

Medical Practice and Physical Examination: 3 thousand years in 3 hours

This lecture/discussion serves as a crash course in the history of anatomy and physiology from the priests of Imhotep to contemporary surgical practice and teaching. The focus of the course is not simply factual, but brings to light 4 major components of medical science as seen through a anthropological lens. Cosmology, Ethics, Discovery, and Practice. At the close of the course, I will be available for an additional hour for questions and topical discussion.

 

 

 

Note

All lectures, presentations, and dissections are heavily reliant on audience participation. These are not the same sorts of lectures you may have experienced before. I believe in a model that requires direct input and investment of the participants in order to foster an environment focused on making connections and discovery. I choose to switch my role from presenter to moderator depending on the discussions at hand, which means that participants have a heavy influence on the direction of each lecture. Debates arise, and sometimes even a few arguments erupt. This is not to say that the structure is unorganized, chaotic and without concrete information, however there is always time built in to each presentation for a few “rabbit holes.” By the end, you will not go home with a notebook full of names, dates, and terms from the topics; but hopefully the names and contact details of those who you would like to continue a conversation with over coffee (or a cat).

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513-207-9760

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