Common Place

Illustrator Julia Kuo joins two University of Chicago physicians and researchers, Monica E. Peek and Elizabeth L. Tung of the Department of Medicine, for Common Place, a Gray Center Mellon Collaborative Fellowship that considers how illustration might play a role in examining the barriers that difference and distrust can form between patients and their doctors. 


Although this project began as a broad examination of barriers to medical treatment due to racial differences and distrust, the collaborators on this fellowship were forced to reconsider their approach in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent of this project, Dr. Peek became a leading voice in drawing attention to how racial health disparities only deepened at the onset of the pandemic in the United States as the virus disproportionately impacted Black populations in this country. The Common Place trio focused their efforts on these concerns, conducting interviews with and drawing portraits of individuals who identify as Black, over the age of 35, whose life and/or health has been adversely affected by COVID-19. Their work is ongoing.

Illustrator Julia Kuo shared one of her portraits of a local resident and interview subject as part of the Gray Center's ON DRAWING DRAWING ON Exhibition at the Logan Center for the Arts (January 28 - March 13, 2022). For the show, Dr. Peek and Dr. Tung contributed a short text, Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is Healthcare a White Space? Kuo, Peek, and Tung will have a larger exhibition of their work together in Café Logan in Spring 2022.