Report of First Medical London Excursion, by Priya Umachandran

For this academic year’s first Medical London Excursion, Global Health and Social Medicine (GHSM) staff and students visited two sites, both part of King’s College London (KCL) on Wednesday 12th October 2016.

Our first stop was the Museum of Life Sciences, where we were given a talk about the history of the museum and its collections by curator Dr. Gillian Sales. The museum contains many interesting and beautiful specimens, with some of international and national importance. Jill explained that many specimens had a role in scientific research relating to human health and disease. Much of this research took place at King’s with many of the objects collected and preserved by King’s staff. So the museum’s collections are also special as part of the university’s material culture heritage.

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Dr Sales explaining the Museum of Life Sciences collection

We were lucky enough to then be given a talk from two of the museum’s outreach officers, Professor Phil Whitfield and Dr Ann Bartlett who are also researchers at KCL. Phil and Anne have carried out international research on schistosomiasis, a disease that is still prevalent in some parts of the world. As a group we discussed the biological and social factors around attempts to eradicate the disease and even touched on some bioethics!

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Out GHSM group of staff and students with the Museum of Life Sciences team

After some time to explore the museum, we gathered for part two: the Mouthy Season at Science Gallery London. Jenny Wong, Head of Public Programmes, gave us a tour of some of the installations that make up this group of events, looking at the mouth from art and science perspectives. We also had a look at the site of the future Science Gallery London building.

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Jenny Wong from Science Gallery London doing a tour of the ‘Mouthy’ season installations

The final installation at Borough Market, an art work of suspended animal head sculptures, rounded off a fun and varied afternoon.

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Some of our GHSM group with the ‘Afterbite’ installation in Borough Market, part of the ‘Mouthy’  Season.

Special thanks to Jill, Anne, Phil and Jenny for welcoming us so warmly and for some great tours and talks. We’ll be emailing staff and students about next term’s excursion shortly!

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