In the opening sequence of his single-screen video installation Radio Shaman contemporary artist Marcus Coates stands patiently in the studio of a radio station in Stavanger, Norway, waiting to be interviewed. Coates’ adoption of the shaman’s role has a series of key precedents in the history of Western art, but the most obvious is that of the twentieth-century German sculptor, Joseph Beuys. There is a tendency to use the term ‘shaman’ indiscriminately in relation to all healers and medicine men. Literature on Beuys and Coates makes connections between both artists’ personal ill health and their interest in shamanism; there are clear indications of self-identification with the shaman as wounded healer. Both Coates’ and Beuys’ work reflect a longer tradition of self-identification with the shaman’s role within Western art – a means by which particular artists have sought to access a well-spring of therapeutic resources that can be brought to bear on the social contexts in which they operate.