What is Forensic Art?
Forensic Art is used to assist forensic investigations by achieving leads to a victim of a crime, a missing person, a suspect or an offender. It is often used when no other evidence, to aid in an individual's identification, is available. It should not on its own be deemed a positive means of identification, but it can help point an investigation in the right direction. Skills required in the Forensic Art discipline can also contribute to archaeological research. Of notable interest within museums are facial reconstructions from archaeological remains, where the faces of people who walked the Earth hundreds or thousands of years ago are revealed to the world once again.
During the MSc Forensic Art course within the University of Dundee, I received training in the following forensic art skills:
- Skull analysis,
- Facial analysis and applied comparative techniques (e.g. for CCTV images, passports, etc),
- Skull and facial imaging,
- Cognitive interview techniques and composite art (see Composites section),
- Facial reconstruction (2D and 3D),
- Age progression,
- Post mortem depiction,
- Craniofacial superimposition.
A thorough knowledge in the anatomical sciences, relevant to the head, neck and facial anthropology, has also been developed through my education with the University of Dundee. This has promoted my ability to produce artwork with a much greater degree of anatomical correctness, which has aided in the improved production of forensic art. Training in a selection of computer programs, and creative and critical thinking further complements this experience.
Medico-legal ethics workshops, within the same course, has also worked to develop my understanding of legal and ethical issues related to the legal system and law enforcement, preparing me for a professional life.
This inspirational course was led by Professor Caroline Wilkinson. I am very grateful to have received a very high standard of teaching in all the subjects throughout the year and the three month long research project was invaluable in getting experience in independent research in this field.