Author: Lucy Burscough

Painter, award-winning arts for health practitioner, model-maker, workshop provider, knitter, digger, mum, bum. Ultimately commissionable.

The Launch Event

The opening of the Look 200 took place across two venues. The launch of the exhibition of paintings took place in the early evening at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.  It was a great success and very well attended with interesting speeches reflecting on the hospital residency and the exhibition by Brian Chapman of Lime Arts, Wendy Gallagher of Manchester Museum, Professor Rob Lucas of Manchester University’s Faculty of Life Sciences (who features in some of the paintings), and Peter Mount, outgoing Chairman of the Hospital Trust who has been a brilliant advocate for the project throughout.

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The sister exhibit of objects that relate to the project then opened at Manchester Museum as part of an ‘After Hours’ evening of vision themed activities that I was excited and honoured to curate.

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At the museum throughout the evening there were opportunities to participate in fascinating activities exploring vision from interesting angles: experience augmented reality as you could investigate what it is like to see as if you were colour blind; explore your sense of touch with the Museum’s haptic object handling machine and learn everything there is to know about the history of spectacles with Manchester Royal Eye Hospital’s resident expert, Stephen Golding. Henshaws Society for the Blind shared their expertise regarding some of the diseases and disorders that can cause sight problems and demonstrate the low vision aids that are available to help people with limited sight. A group of biomedical scientists showcased some of the cutting edge clinical research that takes place behind the scenes at the eye hospital and may impact on the future of global eye care. Fun and games were available to test your colour vision acuity and explore just how animals see.

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Some fascinating presentations were given:

  • James Sumner, a historian of science and technology gave a fascinating presentation about the incredible breakthroughs in understanding that John Dalton proposed, including the identification of colour blindness as a disorder.

  • Dr Annette Allan is a research associate and public engagement specialist who works with neurobiologist Professor Rob Lucas at The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences. Their research area, Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells (ipRGCs), quite incredibly, were only discovered at the turn of this century. Some of what has been discovered about the cells has been interpreted in paint and makes up part of the Look200 exhibition at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Annette is a natural communicator who has a knack of making difficult concepts fun and accessible. She gave an enlightening presentation about the function of these fascinating cells

  • Professor Paulo Stanga, Vitreo Retinal Specialist and Director of Manchester Vision Regeneration (MVR) Lab was kind enough to come in to discuss the innovative technology and novel approaches to treatment that his lab trials and develops. Professor Stanga is one of the few surgeons in the world currently implanting and trialling the ‘bionic eye’ in patients with sight loss at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Amazing work – a truly captivating presentation of some awe-inspiring innovations in the treatment of vision disorders.

To round off the evening there was the première of ‘Oculisor’, a specially commissioned audio visual artwork created by Albino Mosquito in collaboration with musician Dan Steele. Beautiful vision themed imagery manipulated in real time in response to the music. A sublime end to an successful and satisfying evening.

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Some Good Publicity!

Some great publicity came from Look200’s involvement with with Manchester Science Festival with an article about the project appearing in The Guardian online. The paintings certainly were of interest to many people, to date there have been 3564 ‘shares’ on Facebook and 92 on Twitter!

You can see it here.

Local radio also played their part in getting the message out there with BBC Radio Manchester broadcasting an interview with Lucy as part of their popular breakfast show with Allan Beswick.

 Listen to ‘Look200 Interview BBC Radio Manchester’ on audioBoom

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Installing the Look200 sister exhibit at Manchester Museum

Alongside the Look200 exhibit at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, I have been lucky enough to curate a small and very eclectic exhibit of objects that relate to the themes of Look200, specifically John Dalton, colour vision and the history of the treatment of disorders of the eyes in Manchester. What an honour and such fun finding the objects and gathering them together from collections across Manchester.

 

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The Installation

 

The objects are exhibited in front of an image of the same display as it would be seen by someone with a severe form of the colour-blindness that John Dalton suffered from, deuteranopea.

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Standard Colour Vision

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Deuteranopic Vision

Manchester Science Festival Week

Manchester Science Festival is a festival produced by Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry that sees the wonders of science explored in a huge variety of activities in venues across the city.

Look200 was installed in Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in time for the festival and Lucy offered patients and staff the opportunity to experience viewing the paintings through ‘augmented reality’ glasses running Kazuyuki Asada’s Chromatic Simulator app that allowed the paintings to be seen as if the viewer were colour-blind. The already colour-altered areas of the paintings disappeared- a fascinating way to gain a further insight into the work!

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Also on offer were games that allowed the participants to experience the difficulties that might be faced by people who are colour-blind. When wearing the glasses, people were asked to pick out certain colours from a box of shapes and post them through into a box. Those asked to find the sky blues ended up with a box full of pink shapes, whereas those fishing for yellows might endwith oranges, reds and even greens!

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A colour-by-numbers activity was offered for patients with a longer wait that allowed you to choose to colour a flower as it would be seen by someone with standard vision or as someone with a colour vision disorder similar to John Dalton’s.

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Lots of fun for Science Festival Week!

 

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Royal Manchester Eye Hospital Bicentenary Open Day

October 21st saw the exact 200 year anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the committee that founded the Royal Manchester Eye Hospital. The day was marked by a celebratory open day at the hospital. I started the day being interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester about the celebrations, Look200 and the part that I would be playing in Manchester Science Festival Week. You can hear the interview here.  Later in the day I joined the celebrations at the hospital and was able to thank a few of the wonderfully supportive staff by creating some portrait sketches for them.

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The Artist’s Day

A great day spent with artists and art historians with an interest in Arts for Health. The event was an opportunity to share some of the insights that I have picked up during Look200 and an opportunity for the group to meet some of the great people that I have been excited to work with during the project. It was a lovely way to learn more about their roles. Many thanks to Wendy Gallagher, Arts for Health Manager at Manchester Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery; Brain Chapman of Lime Arts, Manchester’s hospital-based arts organisation; and Dr Annette Allan, the Neurobiologist and engagement specialist working with ipRGCs. A successful and fascinating day!

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