Exhibition Research

I provide support to teams who are developing or updating exhibitions to engage public audiences with scientific themes. There are lots of ways this can work, from consultation on concept and format to detailed content research and curation.

 
16334044207_059d0e59f3_o.jpg
 

My introduction to public engagement was at Science Gallery Dublin, a space that combines art, design, science, and the humanities to ask big questions about our world, our universe, our society, and ourselves. For me, this is one of the most exciting and collaborative ways to explore the role of science in society, and exhibitions are a core part of that process. In my role as Research Coordinator, I was the lead researcher on two major exhibitions, combining best practice models from the museum, public engagement, and arts sectors.

Here are some exhibition projects I’ve worked on recently:


Being Human at the Wellcome Collection

 
Being Human at the Wellcome Collection
 

In 2017, I worked with curator Clare Barlow and the team at Wellcome Collection to develop an overview of relevant themes and topic for Being Human, a new permanent gallery that explores trust, identity and health in a changing world. Being Human opened in September 2019, and features 50 artworks and objects across four main sections: Genetics, Minds & Bodies, Infection, and Environmental Breakdown.

 
Curator Clare Barlow said the gallery was a celebration of the fact ‘we are all different, but also all connected. We all have an impact, both on each other and on the world around us. Each of the objects raises questions and brings in different perspectives.’
— The Guardian

SEEING at Science Gallery Dublin

 
28025446481_1dce1738bf_o.jpg
 

Is vision just one way to see? How do our brains interpret what’s in front of our eyes? How do machines understand what they’re looking at, and will they change how we look at the world?

SEEING tackles the complex sensory experience of vision and perception. A combination of artworks and experiments engaged visitors with themes like optics, perspective, and comprehension while exploring enhanced and augmented ways of seeing, artificial eyes, and radical alternatives to vision. It attracted 138,464 visitors in Dublin before touring internationally, and 93% of visitors said would recommend the exhibition to family and friends.

I was the Lead Researcher on the exhibition, developing the themes and narratives it explored, and working with the Exhibition Producer to coordinate commissioning of new work and new art-science collaboration. 


TRAUMA at Science Gallery Dublin

 
hysteria.jpg
 

How does trauma affect the brain, the body, the national psyche, or all three? How do buildings, bodies, artworks and stories record the traumas of our past? How do we bounce back after a trauma, and how is our understanding of trauma’s lasting effect changing?

TRAUMA is an exhibition at the boundary of rupture and recovery, featuring artworks and experiments that explore the biological, psychological, and societal aspects of trauma. The exhibition attracted 100,887 visitors in its three month run.

 
Where we could have been left peering voyeuristically, the show bravely dissects trauma, teasing out the visceral, the bloody, the taboo, and the hopeful and the inventive. It becomes beautiful, sad, disturbing, humorous, even, occasionally, fun.
— New Scientist

TRAUMA was produced at Science Gallery Dublin in 2015. I was the Lead Researcher on the exhibition, working with curators to develop the central themes and narratives, and working with the Exhibition Producer to coordinate commissioning of new work and new art-science collaborations.


Host at Science Gallery Dublin

‘Host’ reveals the complex community of bacteria that calls your body home — the microbiota. And right now, this community is a major focus for scientists studying the roles of nonpathogenic bacteria in our health. How do bacteria in our gut influence our brain? What makes humans such an attractive habitat for mircoorganisms, and why is that a good thing?

 
16781992504_9748fbfa56_o.jpg
 

‘Host’ is an installation developed for the HOME\SICK exhibition at Science Gallery Dublin. Visitors were invited to swab their bellybutton — used by researchers as a consistent collection point for our skin’s microbial communities — streak it on an agar plate, and to come back a few days later to see how their single-cell tenants were getting on in their new, Petri dish home.