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Storytelling 4 Health: Artists and academics exhibition

26 November 2016, 10am - 6pm. Black Box Studio, Fargo Village, Far Gosford St, Coventry, CV1 5ED

Storytelling for health

To celebrate Coventry’s bid for the City of Culture in 2017 Emma Parfitt, storyteller researcher at the University of Warwick, with support from Fargo village have brought artists and academics together for an exhibition of local artists’ work. The exhibition includes 17 Warwickshire artists from all mediums and crafts: papercutting, felting, glasswork, jewellery, drawing, painting, photography, the visual arts and sculpture.

Each artist chose the work of a PhD student at the University of Warwick which they felt inspired them.

The resulting artistic creations will be displayed alongside short paragraphs describing the PhD inspirations. Visitors will be offered the chance to purchase the artists’ work thereby supporting local art and culture.

On display will be unique and visually stunning hand crafted jewellery, photography, sculpture, charcoal sketches, models, paintings, 2D and 3D drawings, illustrations, stained glass, and more created by local artists to help communicate cutting edge research to a wider audience. Visitors will be given the opportunity to vote for their favourite collaboration, and be able to chat to the researchers and the artists about what they think of the work.

The event is family friendly, even offering free yoga sessions at 3pm and 4pm.

You can find out more information on Emma's Storytelling 4 Health blog or read more about Emma's research in her article here.

Dr Emma Parfitt who created and organised the event said:

I am a storytelling researcher so I am always thinking of new ways to communicate that research to people. The basic idea was that knowledge, like art, should be accessible to all. We call it an exhibition, but it is really an event crafted for people that may not have been in a traditional exhibition space before and are not sure whether it is for them or not. Of course, I hope that people who enjoy art already will also find the idea one that they would like to explore.

It opens the academic world to the community, from an internationally diverse set of students and subjects. It is also a different way of communicating research in a creative way, thus demythicizing the idea that research outputs from theoretical to practical cannot be communicated to everyone. Knowledge, like art, should be accessible to all. Research can also impact our lives in different ways. I hope that you can join us on the 26th of November to see where inspiration leads."

Lorella Medici of Arty Folks said:

This is something that has never been done before in Coventry. It’s an exciting new way to communicate important issues and cutting edge research through an incredible mix of artistic mediums that everyone can enjoy.

"Visitors to the exhibition will experience a centre piece sculpture entitled ‘Twixt Nature and Nurture’ influenced by Rebecca Noble’s research into madness and by artists Francisco Goya and Hieronymus Bosch. This piece of work will measure 6m long x 2m wide x 2.5-3.0m high and will be made predominantly of paper."

Rebecca Noble PhD Researcher in the Centre for History of Medicine at the University of Warwick said:

Arty Folks has made a fantastic exhibition piece in response to my work on madness in eighteenth-century Mexico. The artwork is the result of creative conversations about mental health inspired by the past and I hope it will be thought provoking for others."

Amongst those featured:

Emma Harris (jewellery and artwork)

Emma HarrisFrom microbiology graduate (the study of microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses) to creator of unique jewellery and artwork. Most of my work is inspired by nature. I predominantly use polymer clay mixed with natural ‘gems’ collected on my travels around the countryside.

Sarah English (Biomedical Sciences)

I am researching the biology of perinatal depression. This covers depression both in pregnancy and in the postnatal period after giving birth. Over half of all cases go undetected each year, leaving around 35,000 women in the UK receiving no professional help. The consequences extend to the whole family and the offspring, for whom maternal stress in the womb can lead to detrimental health in later life. There are effective treatments available yet without detection we cannot target those women who need help the most. Severe cases may even result in suicide. Both a lack of awareness and stigma or fear of being judged are vital reasons why women are not seeking help, and bringing perinatal depression into the spotlight will help with this.

My research focuses on finding a biological marker or ‘biomarker’ for perinatal depression. The ultimate aim is to find a way to diagnose and predict depression from a simple blood test which can tell us which women are at high risk. The current evidence for this looks promising, using genetics to find a biological reason why some women suffer and some don’t.

This event has been supported by the Sociology Department and the Institute of Advanced Study, at Warwick University. This exhibition has also been made possible by the generosity of Warwick Alumni.

For more information visit


City of Culture