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Celebrate the resilience and collaboration behind Oxford's groundbreaking PANORAMIC and PRINCIPLE COVID-19 trials through "The PANORAMIC PRINCIPLE" exhibition. Artist Tanya Poole's powerful portraits honour the diverse array of participants, researchers, and medical professionals whose inclusive efforts set global benchmarks and transformed lives. An inspiring tribute to human determination in the face of adversity.

Photo of Artist Tanya Poole in front of two of the portraits she has created.

The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health and Sciences (NDPCHS) Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) has taken the unique creative step of commissioning an Artist in Residence to honour the resilience and collaborative efforts of running the PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC trials amidst the global adversity of COVID-19. 

While showcasing trial results often take the podium in medical research, the upcoming exhibition, “The PANORAMIC PRINCIPLE” transcends that traditional approach to spotlight the compelling human stories and weaves together elements of art and medical breakthroughs. The exhibition features a series of portraits of trial managers, GPs, community leaders, pharmacists, nurses, doctors, faith and religious group representatives, influencers, and trial participants. 

“The PANORAMIC PRINCIPLE” exhibition ignited from the monumental success of the PANORAMIC and PRINCIPLE clinical trials, which have been led out of the University of Oxford in collaboration with universities, general practices, clinical research networks, the NHS, and many voluntary, religious, and community organisations UK-wide. These trials, in response to the pandemic, set a global trial recruitment benchmark for a community-based trial in speed and scale. What makes them unique is their focus on reaching people beyond traditional treatment centres, delivering trial medications across the UK with unprecedented efficiency and reach.  

Inclusivity and diversity were at the forefront of these trials, ensuring representative findings for the entire UK population. NDPCHS, determined to honour these achievements, commissioned artist Tanya Poole to create a body of work commemorating this success and serving as an archive for these ground-breaking studies.

The artist behind the exhibition  

Tanya Poole, in her historic role as the CTU’s first commissioned artist, will articulate the journey of the PANORAMIC and PRINCIPLE trials with a collection of portraits that celebrate the essence of human determination, collaboration, inclusivity, and the power of clinical trials. 

Born in Canada, her life is a global odyssey, moving between Canada, Bahrain, South Africa, England, and France. Until 2016, Tanya was a senior lecturer at Rhodes University’s Department of Fine Arts. Her global background and diverse experiences enrich her artistic perspectives. Today, she exhibits her work regularly in the UK, Germany, and South Africa. Tanya holds numerous awards, even though she modestly hesitates to call herself an “award-winning artist”. 

A spark of inspiration 

Facilitated by Professors Christopher Butler and Mahendra Patel, Tanya spent time at NDPCHS Clinical Trials Unit (CTU), meeting the medical professionals and professional support staff who made these trials a success. She travelled across the UK, hearing first-hand about the trials’ significance, challenges, and triumphs from various stakeholders involved in the trials. 

Tanya commented: “I found the process of meeting people for this project fascinating and humbling. Hearing about the challenges that each faced in their professional and private lives was extraordinary, and then hearing about what they did for the greater good above was very moving”.  

The pandemic and the trials’ stories have deeply influenced Tanya’s approach. Each conversation with those involved was a profound encounter with human resilience, challenges, and altruism. Tanya curated a series of portraits to capture the essence of these stories. While thousands contributed to the trials, the portraits will present a diverse and representative cross-section of participants, researchers, and medical professionals, each chosen to symbolise the collective effort. 


A reflection of our collective journey 

The exhibition aims to engage a wide audience, from researchers and healthcare professionals to those with vested interests. The trials’ success story, as told through a collection of portraits, emphasises the human effort, goodness, and resilience that marked this endeavour. It showcases how a collaborative spirit, inclusivity, and equitable research practices can lead to innovative achievements that transform people’s lives. Tanya explains: “the stories, I hope, will reside somewhat in the faces. I use ink as a medium and I feel it’s a sympathetic medium for portraiture. It has properties that are delicate, layered, sometimes uncontrolled, and can be evocative of narratives and nuances of expression”. 

This exhibition not only celebrates but also highlights the importance of collaboration in clinical trials. It serves as a testament to the resilience, dedication, and collective spirit of all involved. By focusing on the human faces behind the trials, it invites attendees to, in Tanya’s own words: “reflect, if they need, on their own experiences, losses, and resilience”. 

How to View the exhibition 

A limited private viewing of the exhibition will take place in early April, before moving on to a public exhibition space later in the year.

Specific dates and viewing information will be announced on our web pages soon.

Professor Chris Butler would also like to offer a special thanks to the Five Star group, whose funding made this exhibition possible.