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The Book of Remembrance holds the name of every person who has donated their body to the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomy Department from 2000 to 2021. Professional calligrapher Annette Reed describes her work and what a privilege it is to write the names of body donors in the Book of Remembrance.

Body donation today

The dissection of human bodies is a vital part of learning anatomy, medicine and surgery. Today, university medical and anatomy teaching relies on people choosing to donate their bodies. There are five universities in Scotland which accept body donations: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews. 

The legislation in Scotland around the use of donated bodies for anatomical teaching is some of the strictest in the world.  In Scotland, donated bodies can only be used in three ways: for anatomical examination, for scientific research, or for education and training for health professionals or other non-healthcare professionals, such as sport science students.

Medical students often refer to body donors as their ‘silent teachers’.

The Book of Remembrance is usually on display in the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomy department for family members to visit. It is currently on display in the exhibition Anatomy: A matter of Death and Life until 30 October 2022.

Find out more about body donations in Scotland.

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