Anatomy workshops open up to public

Public anatomy workshops taking place at the University will be the first of their kind in the UK for more than 180 years.

Members of the public are invited to learn more about the human body through a series of lectures and hands-on demonstrations.

Exclusive access

The experience includes exclusive access to the dissecting rooms in one of the world’s oldest medical schools.

Participants will spend a day learning from anatomy experts and will have the opportunity to explore what lies under the skin of cadavers that have been bequeathed to the medical school.

Open to all

The workshops aim to take some of the mystery out of medicine and open up anatomy to the wider public.

Anyone can take part with artists and massage therapists already expressing interest, as well as prospective medical students and other health care professionals.


In the 1800s, public dissections were commonplace. The bodysnatching scandal of Burke and Hare ended the practice and a law was passed to confine anatomy demonstrations to medical school laboratories.

This is the first time since those days that members of the public will be able to attend workshops in Edinburgh dedicated to the study of human anatomy.

Ethical approval

The workshops are possible because of a law passed in 2006 - the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act - which regulates the ethical and appropriate use of human remains that are donated to medical science.

It’s remarkable to think that the average person probably knows less about their body than their equivalent in the early 1800s. We’re hoping to bring anatomy back out of the shadows and provide access to world-class anatomy education for the general public.

Tom GillingwaterProfessor of Neuroanatomy, University of Edinburgh