New Pills for World Ills: Fictitious pharmaceutical advertising as a tool for dialogue about social issues

August 17, 2021

New Pills for World Ills

For Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative’s August Community of Practice, artist-researcher Lisa Erdman talked about the unexpected emotional and ethical outcomes of her public art intervention Finnexia®. The project consists of an advertisement campaign for a fictitious medication that helps people learn the Finnish language. Finnexia was presented as a live performance in the Helsinki Railway station, with the aim of generating public dialogue about the experience of immigrants in Finland. The project also served as satirical commentary on overmedicalization in society. In this workshop, Lisa guides attendees through a writing prompt to create their own concepts for medical advertisement parodies. Following this exercise, Lisa facilitates a discussion about how parody can be used to raise ethical questions about the pharmaceutical industry and contemporary ways of thinking about health.

Facilitator Bio

About Lisa

Lisa Erdman is an artist, educator, and researcher. Through satire and corporate parody, her multimedia work explores the politics of medicine, advertising, and cultural identity. Lisa is interested in examining the mechanisms that shape personal identity and one’s relationship to medical authority. Her work was recently presented in the Healing/Arts Symposium of Health Activism, Creative Practice, & the Medical Humanities, and in the Centre for Health Education Scholarship at the University of British Columbia. This spring, Lisa was selected as one of six researchers to present at the Health Humanities and the Arts Inaugural Symposium at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Currently, Lisa is based in Portland, Oregon, working remotely as an instructional designer for the Department of Public Health at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She is collaborating with physicians to design a course on medical ethics. Learn more about Lisa’s art and research:

Event Details

August 17, 2021
6:00-7:30 pm


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