11th May 2023 : Philip Ball wins The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal : Royal Society Talk

Brains in a Dish collaborator Dr Philip Ball has been awarded The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal for his outstanding commitments to sharing the social, cultural, and historical context of science through award-winning science communication in books, articles, and as a speaker and commentator. Hear Philip discuss human genome editing and the importance of keeping historical and cultural perspectives visible in these debates at The Royal Society, London on 11th May 2023 from 18:30 – 19:30

Click here to explore a 360 Virtual Tour of our Barnsley Exhibition!

View from inside virtual tour of our Brains in a Dish presentation at Cooper Gallery, Barnsley

Oct 2022- Jan 2023 Major Exhibitions & Engagement programme at Barnsley’s Cooper Gallery & Digital Space @ The Glassworks

Brains in a Dish exhibition view at Cooper Gallery Image: Scott Bairstow

Two major exhibitions of the Brains in a Dish project have recently been presented at Cooper Gallery and Glassworks Digital Space in Barnsely, South Yorkshire. Cooper Gallery recently hosted our dramatic, intricate glass sculptures are animated by robotic lights and videos, while in the Glassworks Digital Space, we offered array of playful, interactive tools and projections to visualise the impacts of dementias and offer insights into the amazing microscopic images of brain cells grown for dementia research by Professor Selina Wray (UCL) and Dr Eric Hill (Aston Uni)

The Brains team also delivered a dynamoic programme of accessible and engaging creative opportunities for local community and schools’ groups to learn about the brain. Local participants of all ages created their own hot glass cells , Petri Dish Mosiaics and pipe cleaner neurons for co-created installations. The brains programme also included art & science talks, a Neuronal Disco , hot glass blowing sessions, VR and electronics workshops- offering inspiring insights into the arts, science, technologies involved in the Brains project.

The Brains in a Dish project was initially conceived and developed as a novel art-science collaborative experiment during Charlie and Selina’s residency as part of Created Out of Mind, a research project at the Wellcome Collection (London, 2016-18) led by Prof Sebastian Crutch.

This presentation of the Brains in a Dish project has been kindly financially supported by Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Alzheimer’s Research UK and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Jan 2022 : ARUK Inspire Fund Awarded to Barnsley’s Brains in a Dish public engagement project

Robin exploring 3D of the Tau protein part of our research toward employing new technologies in our public engagement
Photo: Charlie Murphy

Thanks to a £15,000 funding boost from Alzheimer’s Research UK’s flagship public outreach scheme, the Inspire Fund, we are developing a new science-art project and exhibition – planned for the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley. ARUK’s Inspire Fund will support a series of innovative workshops with local people which will support the development of new interactive artworks.

Currently, around one million people are estimated to be living with dementia in the UK, including 3,000 people in Barnsley alone. It’s a condition caused by several diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, and sadly one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime unless we bring about life-changing preventions and treatments.

Charlie Murphy will collaborate with Professor Selina Wray, who grew up in Barnsley and now leads a group of dementia researchers at University College London. Prof Wray investigates the underlying causes of dementia, and is particularly interested in how a protein that builds up in the brain causes damage in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

To develop the artworks for the exhibition, the pair will collaborate with Dr Eric Hill from Aston University and engineer Robin Bussell. They will run a series of participatory workshops with local community groups to develop artworks and interactive activities about dementia and brain health.  

The Barnsley Brains team will also run tried and tested events while the exhibition is open, showcasing their illuminated ‘Brainscan Headdress’ and popular ‘Neuronal Disco’ activities. These will be held for different local groups and schools, with the goal of creating dialogue and capturing changes in perceptions and understanding of dementia and dementia research.

Barnsley’s Brains R+D Support (Oct 2020- Jan 2022)

Supported by an Arts Council England Lottery Project grant, creative partnerships with UCL’s Professor Selina Wray & ongoing collaborations new technologist Robin Bussell, the Barnsley Brains team have been testing & prototyping ambitious new multimedia artworks to illuminate important dimensions of dementia research & brain function.

Researching innovative learning & engagement activities for schools and dementia care networks, their R+D project explores how arts, science, design and glass industries can be connected to create innovative multimedia installations, educational tools and participatory events.

Their R+D programme includes wide selection of physical and conceptual experiments and dialogues. 

Huge thanks to Arts Council England ( Lottery Project Grant) , The Cooper Gallery and Barnsley Museums teams, the artistagency, Chemglassware Ltd, The Glass Hub team (Wiltshire), The Wray Lab team (UCL)

The Barnsley Brains team are currently preparing applications for funding to support the realisation of large scale artworks and installations which will be presented at The Cooper Gallery and connected venues across Barnsley from  Oct. 2022- Jan 2023. We are also seeking further presentation opportunities with exhibition venues across the UK and Internationally.

Highlights from R&D activities since Sept 2020 :

R+D : Brain Scan Headdress (Ars Electronica Hackathon 2020)

R+D : Barnsley Research + Site Visit

R+D : Glass (kiln work)

R+D : interaction workshops