‘Making Beauty’ (working title) is a collaboration to create a series of artworks in new materials. I’m working in partnership with Dr Richard Day and Professor Alastair Forbes and their colleagues at University College Hospital, London and University of East Anglia, Norwich. The project is a creative response to pioneering therapeutic device developments for regenerative therapy in the context of nutrition and health, and includes the aim of encouraging audiences to consider and examine the ethics of medical research. The projects compliments and extends my continuing interest in the application of unusual materials for art works.
“Making Beauty” is being developed with funding from The Wellcome Trust with curatorial support from Gill Headly and advice from Mark Segal, both also acting as critical friends.”
I will respond to Day and Forbes’ translational, interdisciplinary research applying regenerative medicine to bowel function. I’m really pleased at how the scientists have been intrigued by my work, with a particular interest in works that shock and can be responsible for reflex/knee-jerk rejection. Encouraging patients to dwell on some of my themes has already generated interesting discussions that have surprised both the patients and their doctors, and has already led to new approaches to aspects of their medical management, as well as being fascinating in their own right.
Dr Day is developing innovative therapeutic devices including microsphere-based scaffold and drug encapsulation/delivery technology. This encompasses a ‘bench to bedside’ and ‘bedside to bench’ approach with feedback from clinical staff and patients at an early stage and is part of the UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing. I will have access to and information about materials: from biological and synthetic scaffolds (decellularized cadaver organs and polyesters) to disposable plastic laboratory ‘consumables’. Of particular interest to me is the current investigation into composite biological scaffolds to replace oesophageal tissue removed for clinical reasons. This includes preparing natural materials, such as porcine small intestine, by different processes and combining with synthetic polymers. I’m very much looking forward to testing the viability of bioactive glass as a sculptural medium.