This Introduction and interview discusses the poetical and empathic insights that are a key to the effectiveness of contemporary artist Christine Borland's practice and its relevance to the medical humanities, visual art research and medical students' training. It takes place in a context of intensive interest in reciprocity and conversation as well as expert exchange between the fields of Medicine and Contemporary Arts. The interview develops an understanding of medical research and the application of its historical resources and contemporary practice-based research in contemporary art gallery exhibitions. Artists tend not to follow prescriptive programmes towards new historical knowledge, however, a desire to form productive relationships between history and contemporary art practice does reveal practical advantages. Borland's research also includes investigations in anatomy, medical practices and conservation.