Social Responsibility

Collaboration projects

Art, Medicine and Knowledge

Re-enacting images from the University’s Medical Collection using film, with students providing commentaries.

Using illustrations in the Medical Collection in The John Rylands Library, Sian Bonnell will work with a group of medical and art history students to ‘re-enact’ chosen images in different ‘medical’ locations and record them using video and photography. The images, together with student commentaries on the enactments within the contexts of current medical knowledge and practice, the history of medicine, and the history of medical illustration will be used in an exhibition and mini-conference to mark the end of the project.

Dr Sian Bonnell (School of Art, Falmouth University), Dr Cordelia Warr (Art History and Visual Studies, University of Manchester), Professor Tony Freemont (Medical School, University of Manchester).

Imaging and Drawing

Using drawing to exploring the relationship between art, biomedical images and perceptions of the human body.

Artist researcher Daksha Patel, working with Professor Rebecca Elliott and Dr Alexandra Morgan, will undertake residencies in brain and lung imaging,. She will experiment with drawing methods that respond to concepts of noise and signal in biomedical imaging. The project explores how science and art construct knowledge, and the relationship between biomedical images and perceptions about the human body. The residency will culminate in an exhibition ‘Noisy Bodies’ at the John Ryland’s Library, Deansgate in October 2015. It will be supported by talks during Manchester Science Festival, and workshops in local schools combining arts and science components.

Professor Rebecca Elliott (Neuroscience and Psychiatry, University of Manchester), Professor Geoff Parker (Centre for Imaging Science), Daksha Patel (artist).

Jodrell Bank’s role in the early space race

Archive film and sound will be used to create a work focused on Jodrell Bank’s role in the early space race.

This project will support a residency at Jodrell Bank by Public Service Broadcasting (PSB), a group of musicians and artists who will work with archive/heritage film and sound to create a new performance artwork. Working in collaboration with archive institutions and the site’s scientists and engineers, the artists PSB will create a work focused on Jodrell Bank’s role in the early space race and played live on site.

The residency will take a new approach to science heritage engagement, and extend work already piloted at Jodrell Bank to provide interaction between science and the arts for new audiences.

Dr Teresa Anderson (Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre), Public Service Broadcasting, The University's Heritage Project.

Performance/Biography/Mental Health

A performance piece which will explore the complex issues of how performance can challenge the stigma of mental illness.

Many performers draw on their own and others’ lived experience of mental illness in developing their artistic practice. Performance has the potential to challenge stigma and provide perspectives that are not normally privileged within healthcare practice and research. The process of making such performance also incurs risks and raises complex ethical and artistic questions. This project explores these questions, bringing together lecturers and students from Nursing and Drama, along with artists including thevacuumcleaner and mad’ed theatre in a series of workshops, discussions and performances at Contact and the Martin Harris Centre.

Dr Simon Parry (School of Arts, Languages & Cultures, University of Manchester), Dr Tommy Dickinson (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care, University of Manchester), James Leadbitter (aka The vacuum cleaner), MadEd theatre company, Matt Fenton (Artistic Director, Contact Theatre).

The Placebo Project

A performance piece that explores our understanding of pain through research into the use of placebo analgesia.

The Placebo Project will be a new solo live art/theatre piece from writer and performer Ben Mellor exploring the placebo effect and our experiences of pain, suffering and healing. During a ten-week residency at the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health under the supervision of Prof. Anthony Jones, Ben will meet students, staff and patients to learn more about the work being done in the department, with a particular focus on our understanding of pain through research into placebo analgesia. He will then undertake a two-week rehearsal process to begin shaping the material he has gathered into a performance, an early sharing of which will be presented at The Lowry on 12 June 2015. The Placebo Project will be informed by the medicinal history of our understanding of the effect, the ethical questions that research into and use of placebo treatments raises, and its wider cultural manifestations – such as in the areas of religion, belief, magic and faith-healing.

Professor Anthony Jones (Institute of Brain, Behaviour & Mental Health, University of Manchester), Dr Donna Lloyd (School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester), Ben Mellor (artist).

Portraits of Place

A music and visual art project that aims to capture the essence of identity of younger people with dementia.

‘Portraits of Place’ is a music and visual art project that aims to capture the essence of identity. The project brings together Manchester Camerata, one of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras, the Dementia and Ageing research team in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work and the Manchester Young Onset Dementia Team. Working alongside artists and musicians, younger people with dementia will produce a creative and dynamic piece of art that will generate a sense of identity, explore locality and connection to Manchester and reflect on the younger person’s biography and place in the world. The finished work will be shared with friends and family and subsequently throughout Manchester and beyond.

Dr Helen Pusey (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, University of Manchester), Professor John Keady (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, University of Manchester), Manchester Camerata, Daisy Bank Young Onset Dementia Centre.

Rutherford’s Garden

If physicist, Ernest Rutherford was alive today, would he have a garden, and what would he grow?

If physicist, Ernest Rutherford (1871–1937) was alive today, would he have a garden, and what would he grow? Rutherford’s Garden will be an interdisciplinary ecological research project that will artfully explore the tangible interrelationships between Rutherford’s iconic ‘splitting the atom’ discovery in 1917, the bitter-sweet legacy of Nuclear Physics, The Manchester Museum’s Botany Collection, and the applied science of Phytoremediation. Throughout spring-summer 2015, artist James Brady will occupy the Museum as Artist in Residence, whilst creating a Remediation Garden in collaboration with the University’s Plant Sciences research team, and initiating a ‘nuclear debate’ with the public in a series of open discussions.

Dr Jon Pittman (Faculty of Life Sciences), Rachel Webster (Curator of Botany, Manchester Museum), Anna Bunney (Curator of Public Programmes, Manchester Museum), James Brady, (artist and curator).


A brain simulation technology which mimicks the brain's structure and behaviour.

Artist Tove Kjellmark will work with Dr. David Lester and Michael Hopkins in the School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester to create a new sculpture for The Imitation Game exhibition, curated by Clare Gannaway at Manchester Art Gallery, opening February 2016. The artwork will incorporate SpiNNaker brain simulation technology, developed by the School of Computer Science, which models very large, biologically realistic spiking neural networks in real time, mimicking the brain's structure and behaviour.

Dr David Lester (School of Computer Science, University of Manchester), Michael Hopkins (School of Computer Science, University of Manchester), Tove Kjellmark (artist), Clare Gannaway (Curator, Manchester City Art Gallery).

Stroke: Stories of the Self Through Art and Science

Using creative interactions to support the loss of sense of identity often felt by stroke survivors.

Stroke survivors commonly talk about loss of the sense of self and social identity as their biggest emotional challenge. This profound but invisible aspect of stroke will be explored in a series of interactive workshops focused on creative writing, visual arts and photography. The workshops will bring together a group of stroke survivors, the Stroke Association, Manchester Museum, clinicians, artists and a multidisciplinary team of arts and science researchers and students across the University of Manchester. Outputs will form the basis for a public exhibition and engagement event to be held in Manchester in autumn 2015.

Dr Stephanie Snow (CHSTM, University of Manchester), Professor Stuart Allan (Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester), Professor Pippa Tyrrell (Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Manchester), Ian McGuire (Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester), Esme Ward & Wendy Gallagher (Manchester Museum), Chris Larkin (Stroke Association).

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