top of page

European Reference Network CRANIO presents

in collaboration with True Blue and Art Partner

Face Me

The main goal of project Face Me is to look at the mutual understanding between care professionals and patients/caretakers, by working with two artists who approached the project’s main question in an innovative and artistic way.

As articulated by Prof. dr. Irene Mathijssen

(ERN CRANIO coordinator):

"How can we as doctors and healthcare providers be an even better guide for our patients, by seeing every aspect of their lives, and not just the physical part?

And by showing more of ourselves as human beings."

Face Me: The Pilot

As we wanted to shed a new light on the healthcare provider-patient relationship we invited artists  Zijlmans & Jongenelis. Drawing, meticulously staged photographs, sculptures and video art are part of the wide range of practices in the works of art duo Sylvie Zijlmans and Hewald Jongenelis. 


Based on extensive (online) interviews and home visits to patients and their families and with doctors involved, they invited three patients and a mother, two neurosurgeons and one plastic surgeon to be part of a unique and once in a lifetime experience. Facing each other, really seeing each other and being more than the role of doctor or patient. See me. Face me. 


As patients and caretakers you place your trust in the hands of the doctor. What kind of trust is this? What is needed to be able to grant your doctor this trust? 

In the arts the house is often used as a symbol for the head. Art duo Zijlmans and Jongenelis asked Prof. dr. Irene Mathijssen to open up her house and completely trust the process for a photo and filmshoot on May 14th, 2023. 


What if we changed places?

An equal co-creation between doctors and patients.
No roles, no rules. 



Face Me try-out

The outcome of the artistic research of the Face Me pilot will be included as the project continues in another country (2024). 

In addition, the material that was created (the photos & film) forms the basis for a toolkit, which can be used to open the dialogue with healthcare professionals and patients (representatives).


One of those tools is a workshop. On September 26, 2023 a workshop try-out took place at the ErasmusMC hospital with Dutch patient (representatives) and healthcare professionals. On November 16 another workshop was organised with patient (representatives) and healthcare professionals from various European countries. 


The goal of the workshops was to have a conversation in different ways: by taking the perspective of the other, to understand what you would need to trust someone when it comes to such an invasive procedure and what the other needs and through observing openly and without judgement. 

The photos and the film are the starting point for a different conversation. To start exploring the guide’s role, to explore the interpersonal, the lack of roles and how that makes you an even better doctor. And how a good guide is defined by patients and their loved ones. 

On November 16 during the annual ERN Cranio meeting, another workshop was organised in Dublin with patient (representatives) and healthcare professionals from various European countries.

bottom of page