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Instagram takeover

Next week Wellcome Images are taking over our Instagram account to showcase a selection of this year’s winning images. As if one visual feast isn’t enough, we’ll be taking over the 52museums account at the same time. Hannah Brown and Russell Dornan tell us more.

Wellcome Images

The Wellcome Image Awards explore science and medicine through a combination of traditional artistic media and cutting-edge scientific imaging techniques. The 15th Wellcome Image Awards will be presented on 15 March 2016.

“The power of a visual image to communicate a message is incredible.”

Dr Alice Roberts, Wellcome Image Awards Judge

Next week Wellcome Images will be taking over Wellcome Collection’s Instagram account. We will be posting two of this year’s winning images each day from 7-11 March. Follow #2016WIA while we bring you the stories behind a selection of 2016’s winning images.

From hand-drawn illustrations to super-resolution microscopy, these award winning images bring to life a world of science often hidden to the naked eye. Continue reading

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To see a world in a grain of sand

Today is the last day of our ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple‘ exhibition. Open since November, the show was inspired by 17th century murals from a private meditation chamber for Tibet’s Dalai Lamas in Lhasa’s Lukhang Temple and explored Tibetan Buddhist yogic and meditational practice and their connections to physical and mental wellbeing. As we say goodbye to this much-loved exhibition, Sarah Jellenc explores the common ground between ancient Tibetan practices and Romanticism.

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‘Tibet’s Secret Temple’ at Wellcome Collection.

Making my way through ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple, expecting to be confronted on every side by the exotic and unfamiliar, I was struck by the thematic continuity between the content of the exhibition and my own studies in English Romanticism. As I learned more about the ancient Dzogchen practices of Tibet, I recognised its concern with the nature of the mind and its relationship to the body and to the world. It became clear that both the yogis depicted in the Lukhang murals and my beloved Romantic poets were committed to connecting the dots between art and science, mind and body, the finite and the infinite.

What does it mean that people from wildly different contexts with radically different world views, separated by space and time, were asking the same questions and reaching some of the same conclusions? Continue reading

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Subtle Bodies: the anatomy of mindfulness

Our ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple’ exhibition, exploring Tibetan Buddhist yogic and meditational practice and their connections to physical and mental wellbeing, closes on 28 February. Sarah Jaffray and Sarah Bentley reflect on the show and tap into the complexities of ancient Eastern medicine to better define the trendy term “mindfulness”.

Your heart beats; your muscles stretch; your lungs breathe. These are tangible, visible ways of knowing that your body is working, but there’s another function at play that many times goes unnoticed: the subtle anatomy.

L0078928 The Interconnecting Blood Vessels: Back View (Thangka 10)

The Interconnecting Blood Vessels: Back View. Medicine Thangka 10. (Image credit: Wellcome Library, London)

In Western medicine, gross anatomy refers to the structure of the body that can be ascertained through the dissection and separation of parts. Ancient Eastern medicine also acknowledges this anatomy, but adds something further to the complexity of the human body: the subtle anatomy or subtle body. The subtle body is comprised of an invisible energy that balances anatomical functions through consciousness; it is the basis of mindfulness. Continue reading

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How often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?

Wellcome Collection explores what it means to be human through medicine, art and science. So when our Web Editor, Russell Dornan, saw someone doing the same in the form of a photography piece last year, he wanted to translate that in some way online. After meeting with the artist, Yuxin Jiang, they collaborated on this blog post in attempt to do just that.

Russell

In September 2015 I went along to the University of Westminster’s degree show of its MA in Photographic Studies course to see my friend’s work featured in it. The exhibition, The Pensive Image, was hosted in the Ambika P3 gallery in London and included students from all over the world. One of the pieces that really grabbed my attention was the work by Yuxin: I found it compelling and layered; immediately visually interesting, but something that took a few minutes of exploring to begin to understand.

I saw the strong affinity Yuxin’s work had with Wellcome Collection and wondered if there was some way to explore it online. After making contact and meeting up, we discussed how to showcase the piece in a blog post. A blog post, of course, is a linear medium without the ability to show nuanced relationships between individual images. The challenge was for me to present it in a way that ensured Yuxin still felt confident about the message and the integrity of her work, while respecting the differences between an online experience and a physical one. Continue reading

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Creative Merchandise: Prototyping

We’re a few weeks into RawMinds: Creative Merchandise, our current RawMinds project for young people aged 14-19 to creatively engage with Wellcome Collection. Young people are working together with professionals from design and retail to create a range of new products for our shop. We introduced the project in a previous post and now Product Design course leader Wyn tells about recently hosting the young people at Middlesex University.

We were privileged to work with the RawMinds group from Wellcome Collection. A talented bunch of twelve young people had been working on product ideas for Wellcome Collection’s shop. They’d come up with fantastic, clever, insightful and commercial proposals that really brought Wellcome Collection’s ideals and content to life.

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Medicine in literature

At some point, medicine touches all our lives. Books that find stories in those brushes with medicine are ones that add new meaning to what it means to be human, covering subjects that might include birth and beginnings, illness and loss, pain, memory, and identity. The Wellcome Book Prize aims to excite public interest and encourage debate around these topics. With its shortlist being announced 14 March, we take a look at the judges’ top books that deal with medicine.

The Wellcome Book Prize is an annual award, open to new works of fiction or nonfiction. To be eligible for entry, a book should have a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness. This can cover many genres of writing – including crime, romance, popular science, sci fi and history.

The aim of the Wellcome Book Prize is to encourage public involvement and encourage debate about the issues that the shortlisted books raise and to bring new writers and readers to the subjects of medicine and health. The Prize is run by a team within Wellcome Collection.

If you’re interested in reading the kinds of books described above, but aren’t sure where to start (or are looking for your next read), the Wellcome Book Prize judges have told us about their favourite books dealing with medicine. Continue reading

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Introducing RawMinds: Creative Merchandise

Welcome to the first in a series of posts about RawMinds: Creative Merchandise, our current RawMinds project for young people aged 14-19 to creatively engage with Wellcome Collection. Over the next two months, a group of selected young people from across London will be working together with professionals from the worlds of design and retail to create a small range of new products for our shop. Freelance facilitator Tiff explains.

The first session of this project started amongst the throng and excitement of a very busy Wellcome Collection on Saturday 16 January. With all the planning in place, Catherine Ayres (Youth Programmes Officer) and I welcomed 13 participants into the Studio at Wellcome Collection to introduce ourselves and set the brief for small teams to produce both a 3D and graphic product for sale in Wellcome Collection’s shop inspired by the collection itself. Continue reading