Walk this way (post)

An evening with a best-selling crime novelist and the professional who inspired one of his characters was always going be a rare treat. But few could have hoped for how brilliant the combination of art and health science would prove at the forensic podiatry showcase, Walk this Way.

Author Peter James and graduate from the School of Podiatry, Haydn Kelly, addressed a busy audience at the October event to talk about how forensic gait analysis has become a useful tool, not only in the real world of law enforcement, but also as a device in Peter’s Detective Roy Grace series.

Forensic podiatrist Haydn – who works on London’s Harley Street – appears as himself in four of the stories and explained that it really is possible to obtain sufficient data from a single footprint, enabling an expert to identify someone walking along a street by their gait.

Throughout the twists and turns in Peter’s latest novel, You are Dead, podiatry plays a huge part thanks to Haydn’s expertise and career skills. After an evening of captivating an audience and showing them how art and science are sometimes closer linked than we realise, the podiatry team at Plymouth University are keen to show that studying a health profession can lead onto any number of exciting opportunities.

Head of the School of Health Professions, Professor Graham Sewell, said:

“In bringing together a best-selling author/creative writer, and a healthcare professional with a unique area of practice, this event demonstrated the often overlooked synergies between health-science and the arts. 
“This fusion benefits not only the expert communicator and the expert scientist in their work, but also enhances the impact and public understanding that can be achieved. Above all, the combination of two masters of their respective professions and an engaged audience in a relaxed, informal setting, made for a great evening. The podiatry and events teams at Plymouth are to be congratulated for staging this excellent event.”

The complementary mix of science and art has also recently been adopted by another Plymouth University academic, Professor Richard Handy, who used his expertise on nanotechnology to write the historical fiction thriller, The Reich Device. A Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, he is internationally renowned for his work on nanotechnology and uses his interest in the history of science to explore the premise that the Nazis were close to developing weapons based on similar technology.