New exhibition uses sound, photography and video to explore lives of organ transplant patients
22 Nov 2016
From November 22nd, visitors to the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum will be able to explore the lives of patients who have received organ transplants, those on the waiting list, and live donors via a newly commissioned exhibition which innovatively merges sound, photography and video.
Artists Tim Wainwright and John Wynne have worked with patients and staff at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Harefield Hospital to reveal intimate experiences and raise awareness of organ transplantation and the challenges surrounding it. The ‘Transplant and Life’ exhibition also aims to encourage donor registration.
Alongside the exhibition, an interactive digital guide features information about past and future developments in transplantation and documentary materials, including the perspectives of patients, live donors and medical professionals. Visitors to the museum will be able to access the guide via smartphone or tablet and it is also available to the public on an online platform. New material will be continuously added to the platform to further enrich the exhibition.
Transplant and Life tells the story of more than 30 patients, including Jon whose sister Jenny donated one of her kidneys to him, and Susan, who describes the conflicting emotions the receipt of an organ from a deceased donor can engender. Through the digital guide there is also a chance to hear from some of the pioneering surgeons who have led the way in transplant surgery, including Sir Terence English, who performed Britain’s first successful heart transplant in 1979, and renal transplant specialist Ms Lorna Marson.
Artists Tim Wainwright and John Wynne say:
“The participants in Transplant and Life have generously shared their deeply private experiences and thoughts, and it has been a privilege to have worked with so many transplant patients, either in their homes or by their hospital beds.
“The project was an opportunity for us to not only make new work with kidney, liver and pancreas transplant patients but also to revisit five of the heart and lung transplant patients we first worked with ten years ago. We invited participants to talk about whatever was important to them, and their contributions are remarkably diverse and engaging.”
A series of lunchtime and evening events will accompany the exhibition including:
• A Change of Heart: The history and current status of heart transplantation
• Nothing but the Tooth: the early transplantation work of John Hunter
• New Developments in Surgery
• Museums at Night – exclusive exhibition viewing and interactive sessions
• My Organ, My Choice (Closed schools event in association with the Royal College of Pathologists)
The exhibition runs from Tuesday 22 November 2016 to Saturday 20 May 2017 in the Crystal Gallery at the Royal College of Surgeon’s Hunterian Museum. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, and admission is free.
Support for Transplant and Life
Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “I’m pleased we’ve been able to support Transplant and Life through our Grants for the Arts Programme. It is a brilliant example of how art can help us understand life and explore our relationship with death. This exciting collaboration shows how unexpected partnerships can provide new experiences for us all, and generate new and diverse audiences for arts and culture.”
Karen Taylor, Arts Manager at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to support the project, which has been a wonderful opportunity for our patients to share their stories and celebrate their lives ten years on from their transplants."
Dr Robin Woolfson, divisional director of transplant and specialist services at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to have been involved in this wonderful exhibition and that our patients have been able to share their experiences of transplantation in this way. The Royal Free is very proud of our liver and kidney transplant programmes and I hope that the exhibition will encourage more people to join the NHS organ donor register – a decision which could change or save someone’s life.”
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “This exhibition gives a very personal insight into what it is like to wait for a transplant, and highlights the stories of recipients who share the difference the transplant has made to their lives. We hope that the exhibition will prompt discussion and conversation amongst those who visit and the wider public.
“Every day three people die in need of a transplant because there aren’t enough people willing to donate. Today around 6,500 people in the UK are waiting for a transplant. We hope the exhibition will inspire people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and share their decision with friends and family. It's important to discuss your decision and ask your family to support your wishes.”
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
Notes to editors
1. A preview of the exhibition will take place on Tuesday 22nd November 2016. Please contact the RCS press office if you wish to attend. Arrangements can also be made for filming and interviews with the artists or curator.
2. All images copyright Tim Wainwright. High resolution images and captions available on request. Further audio, photography and video from the exhibition also available on request.
3. The Transplant and Life online platform can be found at the following link: http://www.transplantandlife.uk/en/. Please note limited material is available on the site before the exhibition opens. Full material will be available on 22 November 2016 and will be continuously added to.
4. Transplant and Life has been curated by Kay Watson.
5. Transplant and Life is generously supported by Arts Council England, The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Blood and Transplant, the Hunterian Museum Trustees, Bridge to Life, PharmaPal, Mr Nick Lane, Organ Recovery Systems, UAL: London College of Communication, City Insights, NES, Metro Imaging, Sound Directions and Roche AV.
6. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
7. For more information please contact the RCS Press Office on: 020 7869 6047/6052;
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
9. Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is the UK’s largest specialist centre for the treatment of heart and lung disease. Working from two sites, Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea, West London, and Harefield Hospital, near Uxbridge, the Trust has an international reputation for the expertise of its staff, high standard of care and research success. Experts at the Trust help patients from all age groups who have heart and lung problems and provide some of the most complex surgery and sophisticated treatments available anywhere in the world. For more information, visit: www.rbht.nhs.uk. For media enquiries, please contact: Oliver Wilkinson, Deputy Head of Communications, Tel: 020 7351 8672, Mobile: 07866 536 345, Email: email@example.com.
10. The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare. The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners. In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London.
11. NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We are responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.