Whilst browsing Wellcome Collection for events, I came across Ideas Hub and felt that it was relevant to my practice. Their site says:
Ideas Hub is a week-long programme of activities and workshops exploring the links between science, medicine, life and art. Here, you’ll join people from all sorts of backgrounds for creative exercises, project work, and talks with a diverse range of experts. As a team, you’ll explore not just the theme but also your own potential. Ideas Hub will give you a unique opportunity to reimagine what your future could hold.
It takes place on the first week of September, which will be the week before our MA exhibition. It’s taking place during a stressful time but I thought it was worth applying for anyway; I can work around the logistics of it later.
To apply, I had to fill out a Google form with 3 questions. Here are my answers:
Ideas Hub will explore the links between science, medicine, life and art. Explain why you are interested in this topic and why you think it’s important to explore these links. (max 200 words) *
I am currently studying for a Masters in Illustration, and also suffer with a long term illness called Fibromyalgia. I experience widespread pain, chronic fatigue as well as issues with cognitive function. Because of this, I have found it difficult to communicate my experiences and the implications of my illness to medical professionals and loved ones; a common issue within the invisible illness community. Philosopher Andrew Edgar says in “The Expert Patient: Illness as Practice”:
“The expertise of the patient may well be of an experience that, precisely because of its quality of useless suffering, cannot be readily articulated within the language that frames the practices and virtues of the health.”
This forms the basis of my practice. I am currently working on how I can visually articulate my experiences with this condition, developing an illustrative language that is accessible to fellow sufferers, as well as those affected by invisible illness, including medical professionals.
I believe that investigating the languages of science, medicine, life and art, and combining them to develop new forms of articulation could improve the understanding of experiences that are difficult to quantify, as well as helping improve the speed of diagnosis.
Why is Ideas Hub the right programme for you now and what do you hope to gain from the week? (max 200 words) *
I feel that Ideas Hub is the right programme for me now because it relates so well with my practice as an illustrator and my work on visualising invisible illnesses. I am very keen to gain new perspectives on these matters from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, as well as different points of interest, which will help me progress with my practice and project development.
I am interested in stretching my skills, trying new things and challenging the way I think. Experiences like this are rare, and would relish the opportunity to absorb everything from the programme to improve my future practice and approaches to it.
I also hope to gain contacts with other practitioners from different fields, which are normally difficult to obtain when isolated in a studio space.
Tell us about an experience you have had which involved working collaboratively with different people. What did you learn and why does it make you a strong applicant to Ideas Hub? (max 200 words)
As part of my Masters degree, I am constantly working collaboratively. Since October, I have been student representative for MA Illustration, and was part of a team that organised a symposium for the MA department, liaising with staff and students to ensure a smooth running and topical event. I have also taken part in workshops, working collaboratively, most recently at “Drawing from Your Own Experience” at the Wellcome Collection.
The most I have learnt from a collaborative project though was one I took part in a few years ago at Hereward College in Coventry. I worked as a photographer and mentor with a team of students with Autism. The project was to create a zine of social stories relating to their experiences as young people on the Autistic Spectrum, addressing a gap in the market for visual social aids for autistic teenagers. As well as getting to know the students, exchanging and teaching new skills, I learnt how to adapt my approaches to different students needs and stories; to really listen in order to get the best from them and make the experience enjoyable.
The application isn’t done yet, as I will be sent an invitation to send a video answer to a question they send via email. I have until the 23rd February to apply for this.
Wellcome Collection, (2018) Ideas Hub [online] London: Wellcome Collection. Available at: https://wellcomecollection.org/what-we-do/ideas-hub [Accessed 19 February 2018]