Medicine at the Movies was a one-year engagement project run by the UK Medical Collections Group, the national subject specialist network for medical collections. The network wanted to create a project that would enable museums to work with community groups to co-curate interpretations of their collections, and in doing so to explore the impact of medical collections on health and wellbeing. We secured a £100,000 grant from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and put together a partnership of six museums to deliver the project. I was project manager, liaising with the museums, keeping track of budgets and managing the relationship with the funder.
Six partner museums each worked with a different community group to create original short films based on medical collections and the participants' own experiences of healthcare. The groups were very varied: the Thackray Museum of Medicine worked with Cohearant Vision, a charity for D/deaf and hard of hearing people in Leeds; The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons worked with the Mary Ward adult learning centre; the British Dental Association Museum worked with Siren Arts & Advocacy which supports adults with learning disabilities; the George Marshall Medical Museum in Worcester worked with mental health service users at No. 10 Sansome Place; the Edward Jenner Museum worked with Gloucester Action for Refugees & Asylum Seekers; and the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garrett set up its own creative writing group.
The participants made a series of quirky, individual productions that take a new and sometimes challenging look at medicine from the perspective of personal experience. You can watch the films at www.youtube.com/user/UKMCG.