During the academic year 2015-16, staff and students from the Faculties of Life Sciences (now Biology, Medicine and Health) and Humanities have collaborated with the Museum of Medicine and Health (MMH), the University of Manchester Historian and Heritage Manager and Chetham’s Library to develop a series of public engagement activities that aimed to engage different audiences with the MMH’s collection of medical objects.
AGMS student putting objects on display for The Medicine Cabinet, Chetham’s Library, 12 December 2015
The project, which was led by Dr Kostas Arvanitis (School of Arts, Languages and Cultures), Dr Carsten Timmermann (CHSTM) and Stephanie Seville (Heritage Assistant, MMH), and funded by the Faculty of Humanities and the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, included
- a one-day pop-up exhibition in Chetham’s Library, which attracted c. 200 visitors (The Medicine Cabinet: Unlocking Manchester’s Medical History, 12 December 2015)
- a family activity at Manchester Histories Festival (11 June 2016),
- a social media campaign on twitter, facebook and instagram (May-July 2016), and
- a series of four videos, which show MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies students introducing MMH objects they researched for the exhibition.
The videos below, which feature objects as varied as a powder folder, a bronzed wax resin cast of a facial reconstruction of Philip II of Macedon, a nest of three Royal Worcester white crucibles and a McEvedy rectal speculum (proctoscope), provide a fascinating insight into the project and the MMH’s collection:
Learn more about the project here and here.
Click here for more photos of the exhibition at Chetham’s Library.
See also this short interview with Stephanie Seville, introducing her work with the MMH collections on the MedHumLab website.
The Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum are part of a new Arts Council funded research project looking at the impact of engaging in museum activities for individuals’ health and wellbeing. Not So Grim Up North (2015-2018) is a collaboration with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), working with researchers at University College London (UCL).
The Whitworth and TWAM have been leading creative work in the field of health, culture and wellbeing for many years, with specifically developed arts and heritage programmes in partnership with local healthcare and social care services. Inspired by the collections of art and local history, the programmes offer behind-the-scenes tours and object handling; arts activities; sound recording; creative writing; and photography.
The Whitworth’s contemporary textiles handling resource
The research will explore how taking part in a museum or art gallery activity can have demonstrable health and wellbeing outcomes, through a longitudinal study using a mix-methods approach – that is, we will be using validated (quantitative) clinical scales alongside qualitative interviews to measure the impact of these activities over 18 months. The project will work with a range of audiences across the two regions, including adults with mental health issues, adults in addiction recovery, stroke rehabilitation patients, and older adults living with dementia; and will also bring together the perspectives of healthcare professionals and cultural professionals to explore the work of partnership. The project will contribute to better understanding the value of museum encounters on health and wellbeing.
Dr Nuala Morse is the Research Associate for the project, based at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester. Nuala’s background crosses human geography, museum studies, participatory theory and the medical humanities, and her work is interested in the distinctive nature of the ‘social work’ of museums professionals; the role of the museum as a space of social care; and the role of culture in (mental health and addictions) recovery work. Nuala’s recent papers can be found here.
You can find out more about the research project here (please note some of these pages are under construction).
If you would like any further information please contact Nuala: Nuala.firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about the museums’ programmes:
Medical Humanities Lab member and CHSTM research fellow Dr Stephanie Snow, working in collaboration with the Stroke Association and visual artist Elisa Artesero, has been curating a pop-up exhibition at Manchester Museum to commemorate World Stroke Day on 29 October 2015. The exhibition featured creative work produced by a group of stroke survivors, based on their experiences of adapting to life after stroke and inspired by Manchester Museum’s extensive mask collection.
The exhibition, titled Stroke: Stories of the self through art and science, is running as part of the Manchester Science Festival. It is the first output of a larger project that brings together stroke survivors, patient groups, artists, clinicians, scientists, researchers and students from across the University and beyond in order to explore the life-changing aspects of stroke.
University of Manchester President and Vice Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell visiting the exhibition
Stephanie’s collaboration with the Stroke Association and stroke survivors is ongoing and will result in a major exhibition of creative work and engagement events at the 2016 Manchester European City of Science festival.
Here is a short YouTube film about the workshops:
Further information about the event
We’re happy to pass along some news coverage, including a short film, of a project involving Medical Humanities Lab member Professor Rachel Calam (Psychology).
Sky News have covered the project, showing how children who have come to Manchester talk about their experience of war in Syria and the psychological changes that come as a result of experiencing conflict.
A child’s drawing dealing with the experience of war in Syria
About the project and its findings
Parental support and family cohesion is protective against mental health problems in children in situations of armed conflict and following displacement by war. Aala El-Khani, Rachel Calam, Kim Cartwright and the Parenting and Families Research Group at The University of Manchester are working to understand the challenges parents and caregivers face and the best ways of providing information and psychological support through displacement and resettlement.
The latest media coverage exemplifies the experiences that children carry with them from conflict zone to resettlement in a place of safety.
Find out more about the Parenting and Families Research Group and its work