A Meeting of Minds – Mental Health Past & Present

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
A Meeting of Minds – Mental Health Past & Present
Tuesday 10th April at 5.30pm
Baxter 1.36, Tower Building, University of Dundee
How can looking at examples from the past help us to understand mental health issues today? 
Historians and health professionals meet to explore the lessons we can learn from looking at psychiatry’s history.
Free but places should be booked via Eventbrite here.

Face to Face – Stories from the Asylum

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :Tower Foyer Gallery, University of Dundee

Now on and running until 9th June 

Monday to Friday 9.30am to 7pm and Saturday 1pm to 5pm


Our understanding of the Victorian lunatic asylum, and our perception of the history of psychiatry, is often fed by myth and fiction. The nineteenth century did indeed see a massive rise in the building of asylums, as institutional care became the dominant means of caring for the insane. But what do we know of the lives of those who entered them as patients? How did they experience mental illness?
Face to Face: Stories from the Asylum is an exhibition exploring the lives of a small group of patients admitted to Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum between 1886 and 1902. Using information and photographs from their case notes, the exhibition examines the circumstances which led to their committal to the asylum, the dilemmas faced by their families, and the nature of their mental illness.
Looking at examples from the past is a valuable way to consider the social and cultural contexts that create understandings of mental disorders. Through the poignant stories of past sufferers, the exhibition aims to engage with contemporary concerns about the experience of mental disorders, past and present, the effect on family and community, and the wider social attitudes associated with mental illness.
This exhibition is part of the ‘Promoting Mental Health through the Lessons of History’ project, based at the University of St Andrews, and is a collaboration with University of Dundee Archive Services. 
The exhibition has been curated by PhD student Morag Allan Campbell.

University of Dundee exhibitions

There are two new exhibitions at the University of Dundee.
In the Lamb Gallery, the exhibition “Botanical Conversations” features highlights from the University’s amazing Herbarium collection, stunning botanical teaching charts and beautiful works of art inspired by plants. It describes the history of botany teaching at the University and also showcases some fascinating projects being carried out both here and at the James Hutton Institute.
Meanwhile, in the Tower Foyer Gallery, “Exploring our own Backyard” has been put together by the University of Dundee Botanic Garden and highlights the current project to revamp the Garden’s native plants area. 
This is the jewel in the Garden’s crown and is still unusual in botanic gardens, which traditionally showed little interest in their natives. Dundee’s garden is young, founded in 1971, and it was committed from the start to telling the story of Scottish plants and their ecology.
This exhibition also celebrates the work of William Gardiner, a working man from Dundee who became a distinguished botanist in the first half of the nineteenth century, and was the first to compile a flora of the local area, unique examples of which will be on display.
Exploring our own Backyard runs until 17th March and Botanical Conversations ends on 31st March. 
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9.30am to 7pm;  Saturday 1pm to 5pm.   Full exhibition details are available here.

On Growth & Form 100 – Creative Coding workshops

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
Creative Coding : Animats, Animation and Artificial Life 
Designing and Coding Workshops by Genetic Moo
Saturday 9th December, 10am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4.30pm
D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, University of Dundee
Create your own virtual organisms in these special workshops by computer art duo Genetic Moo, part of our exciting programme of events marking the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form. Using design and creative coding, in the first part of the workshop you will learn how to design your creatures digitally, experimenting with different body parts, muscles and sensors. 
In the second part, find out how to program simple animating backgrounds which will trigger your creatures into action. At the end of this stimulating workshop we will bring some of the ‘created’ creatures together into a virtual world, while observing how they behave. Coding will be done using the free and open source Processing Language. 
After the workshop, we will email participants with the resulting programs and will explain how you can carry on your exciting coding experiments at home.
The workshop will run twice – a family-friendly version in the morning (10am-12.30pm) and one for adults in the afternoon (2pm-4.30pm).
Please note –
Workshops will be 2.5 hours long with a short break in the middle.  All equipment will be provided.
The workshops will be run by Nicola Schauerman and Tim Pickup who make up the digital art group Genetic Moo and have ten years of experience creating interactive creatures for events and exhibitions up and down the country.    They filled a shop full of digital beasties at Dundee’s Wellgate Centre for NEoN Digital Arts Festival 2016.
The morning workshop is intended for children aged 10 and upwards. Children must be accompanied by one or two adults.   You only need to book one place per child as you will be sharing a netbook computer.    It is great fun to work together with your kids and see who can code, or you can sit back and let the kids get on with it. 
The afternoon workshop is intended for adults aged 18 and upwards.
There is a fee of £10 per person for the afternoon workshop or £10 per child for the morning workshop (accompanying adults may attend free). Please pay in cash on the day – you will not be asked to pay when registering.
Places are limited so booking through Eventbrite is required :
Family Workshop – here.
Adult Workshop – here.  

D’Arcy Through the Letter Box

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
Our celebrations for the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form continue next week with a free talk by Meic Pierce Owen in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum at 6pm today –
D’Arcy Through the Letter Box – the Polymath’s wonderland as seen through his correspondence
D’Arcy Thompson’s papers at the University of St Andrews incorporate some 30,000 letters written throughout his lifetime. In this entertaining talk, archivist Meic Pierce Owen (who has read more of the correspondence than almost anyone except D’Arcy) explores highlights of a vast and fascinating collection.
Meic has also written one of the chapters of our new book, “Growing and Forming: Essays on D’Arcy Thompson”, copies of which will be on sale.  Refreshments will be served after the event.
Places are limited so please book here.

Philip Ball Lecture

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
Our celebrations of the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form continue on Wednesday 22nd November at 6pm with a free public lecture by renowned science writer and broadcaster Philip Ball in the D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, entitled From Natural Patterns to Self-Organisation
Patterns, regularities and order appear spontaneously in the universe over an immense range of scales in space and time. Not only does such organisation seem to challenge the universal thermodynamic tendency towards an inexorable increase in entropy and disorder, but these patterns often share similar forms and features in systems that seem to have no relation to one another. 
It has become increasingly clear that there are organising processes in nature that operate according to very general principles, insensitive to (or at best merely fine-tuned by) the details of a particular system. At the same time, the delicate interplay between chance and determinism in these situations is able to engender immense, seemingly endless variation on a few basic themes, as in the case of snowflakes.
On Growth and Form was the first great synthesis of this combination of universality and variety in natural pattern and form. But only in modern times have we had the conceptual, computational and experimental tools to do his intuitions justice. 
In this free lecture, Philip Ball will look at where our understanding of these processes has come over the century since the book’s publication. A former editor of Nature, Ball recently presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary about D’Arcy Thompson and is the author of Nature’s Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts.
The lecture is free but please book a place here.

Exponential Growth

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
Exponential Growth features new work by Graphic Design and Illustration students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, one of a series of events celebrating the centenary of D’Arcy Thompson’s landmark book On Growth and Form. 
Over the past few weeks, the students have created an amazing variety of sketches, objects, illustrations, collages and magazine layouts inspired by D’Arcy’s ideas and collections, the best of which will be shown in the exhibition.
Open now and running until into the New Year – details below :