There are a number of Medical Humanities events taking place as part of Birkbeck Arts Week.
All events are free and everyone is welcome but you may need to book a place.
Throughout the week you can visit the Peltz exhibition:
Mr A Moves in Mysterious Ways: Selected Artists from the Adamson Collection, Peltz Gallery
The Adamson Collection is an internationally renowned collection of art objects made by residents of a long-stay British psychiatric hospital between 1946 and 1981 under the guidance of art-therapy pioneer Edward Adamson. Mr A Moves in Mysterious Ways: Selected Artists from the Adamson Collection will display selected works from the collection to tell the story of Adamson’s groundbreaking use of art as a therapeutic tool; to provide insight into the experiences of the creators of the artworks; and to reflect on the range of factors that may have influenced their production, including clinical, artistic, personal, social and material.
Wednesday 17th May
As well as the Medical Humanities reading group 3-4.30pm, which is looking at Audre Lorde’s ‘Cancer Journals’, there is:
Something to Chew on: Virginia Woolf’s Teeth at 3-4pm, Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square
Woolf’s enduring recognition as a key modernist, this talk will suggest, is not only due to formal devices such as the stream of consciousness, but her intersection with a very specific moment in medical history. To find out more join us for a talk about Bloomsbury’s most famous resident, dentistry, mental health, and toothsome characters by Birkbeck’s Peter Fifield. English idioms routinely connect eating with mental work: food for thought, getting your teeth into a problem, a meaty idea. But how can we read the teeth of people who think for a living?
Conceiving Histories, 6pm-7.25pm, Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square
Find out about the curious history of unpregnancy. This event presents work in progress from a collaboration between visual artist Anna Burel and literary historian Isabel Davis (Birkbeck) about the use of urine in pregnancy testing. How did people in the Middle Ages attempt to identify conception, and how will we do so tomorrow?
Find out more about the Conceiving Histories project here.
Thursday 18th May
Stories from the Birthing Room, 6-9pm, G04, 43 Gordon Square
What happened in the early modern birthing room? Though the scene of birth is often understood as secret, a surprising number of texts tell us its story. Scripted and directed by Emma Whipday (UCL), actors perform writings from seventeenth-century courtrooms, plays and songs to disclose how women understood birth. The performance will be followed by a discussion with the director, the actors and the academics who supplied the texts – Laura Gowing (King’s College London) and Birkbeck’s Isabel Davis and Sue Wiseman.
In the afternoon, the London Renaissance Seminar will be holding a discussion on the same topic, featuring contributions from various scholars including Leah Astbury (University of Cambridge). All are welcome.
Eyes, hands, hearts: Anatomy, aesthetics, and the organization of life in the Hunterian Museums, 6-7.25pm, Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square
What is the place of aesthetics in the foundations of science? A visit to the Hunterian Museums in London or Glasgow will certainly involve gazing upon eerily back-lit glass bottles holding anatomical preparations. This talk examines the work of William Hunter and his younger brother John, two of the most important anatomists of the eighteenth century. Dahlia Porter (University of Glasgow) will assess museum displays of preserved organs alongside manuscript catalogues and plans, plaster casts, chalk drawings, and engravings – visual resources which contributed to the emergence of comparative anatomy.
Mr A moves in mysterious ways: artists from the Adamson Collection, 6-8:30pm, Cinema and Peltz Gallery, 43 Gordon Square
In association with the Bethlem Gallery, join us for a panel discussion introducing a new exhibition of works from the Adamson Collection on show in Birkbeck’s Peltz Gallery. The Adamson Collection is an internationally renowned archive of art objects made by residents of a long-stay British psychiatric hospital between 1946 and 1981, under the guidance of art-therapy pioneer Edward Adamson. This is a rare opportunity to encounter these important works.
Featured Image: © Anna Burel, Frogwork part of the Conceiving Histories Project.