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Symposium ‘The Ethics of Display: exhibiting vulnerable bodies’

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Location: Arden Conference Centre, University of Warwick

Symposium preliminary announcement:

‘The Ethics of Display: exhibiting vulnerable bodies’

Centre for the History of Medicine, the University of Warwick

This symposium brings together curators, art and medical historians, and medical humanities scholars to examine the ethics and challenges of displaying difficult, sensitive and vulnerable material, especially the bodies of patients. In doing so it seeks to create an open and earnest discussion about ‘appropriate’ exhibition practices, curatorial choices, and viewer responses. Amongst an exciting, international and interdisciplinary group of speakers, topics will include the exhibition of photographs of naked babies under ultraviolet lamps, the disfigured faces of WWI soldiers, and distressed asylum patients, as well as the exhibition of human remains. We will question what leads to particular material being exhibited, versus what is left hidden, and who makes those choices and why. What policies, practices and precedents are in place to inform these choices, and how are they subjectively or objectively applied to specific exhibitions?

This one-day event will be held on campus at the University of Warwick, hosted by the Centre for the History of Medicine (CHM) and funded by the Wellcome Trust. Propelled by the recent Wellcome Trust-funded ‘Kiss of Light’ exhibition at the Florence Nightingale Museum (FNM), which featured photographs of exposed, irradiated child patients, the symposium stems from the research of Dr Tania Woloshyn and the collaboration between the CHM and the FNM.

To register, please email Sheilagh Holmes: Registration is free and includes lunch and refreshments. If you would like to attend the symposium dinner that evening and/or require accommodation on campus, for which there are special rates, please indicate this when you register.

Tags: Symposium

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