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QM’s Pathology Museum launches Autumn Seminar Series

St Bartholomews Pathology Museum at Queen Mary, University of London’s West Smithfield campus will host an exciting Autumn Series of evening seminars, featuring events on the art of tattooing, the vampire in folklore, the history of ‘Bedlam’ and the darker side of silent films.

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‘Tattoos: The New Memento Mori?’ on Wednesday 17 October explores the role of tattoos in preserving the human legacy. Performance and installation artist Sandra Ann Vita Minchin will discuss her tattoo of the seventeenth century masterpiece ‘Vase of Flowers’ by Dutch artist Jan Van Davidz de Heem, and her plans to have her skin posthumously preserved. The piece, which took around 120 hours to complete, is part of Minchin’s project ‘Ars Longa, Vita Brevis’, or ‘Art is Long, Life is Short’.

Gemma Angel, a doctoral student at University College London, will speak on her research into the Wellcome Collection’s preserved tattooed skins. She is aiming to explore all aspects of the 300 pieces; from the material properties of the skins to the iconography and social and historical context of the artwork

On Wednesday 31 October, the Museum hosts a double-bill of vampire-themed lectures. The evening seminar features guest speakers Dr Stacey Abbott, Reader in Film and Television Studies at Roehampton University, and Nancy Schumann, an expert in female vampires in folklore and Anglo-American literature. Experimental caterers Animal Vegetable Mineral will be on hand to offer guests a specially concocted glass of ingestible blood. Further information on the Halloween seminar can be found here.

Archivist Colin Gale speaks at the museum on Wednesday 14 November on the history of Bethlem Royal Hospital – better known as ‘Bedlam’ – one of the world’s oldest hospitals for the treatment of mental illness. He is joined by University College London PhD candidate Sarah Chaney, who will present her lecture ‘All Roads Lead to Bethlem: Patients and Practioners in the Nineteenth-Century Asylum’.  

On Wednesday 21 November London-based journalist and film blogger Pamela Hutchinson will present ‘Cut! An Introduction to Silent Film’. Hutchinson, who edits popular silent film website, has written about silent film for the Guardian and Sight & Sound and has appeared on BBC World Service talking on the revival of interest in early cinema. ‘Cut!’ takes a look at the early years of cinema, from early adaptations of Frankenstein to Expressionist classics. The lecture, which focuses on the darker, Gothic side to the genre, is a prelude to the museum’s forthcoming series of silent film screenings, to be accompanied by live music.


Book tickets

17 October – Tattoos: The new Memento Mori? (Free entry)

31 October – Women with Bite (Vampire Special) (Price - £5)

14 November – Bethlem: Worth a Visit? (Free entry)

21 November – Cut! An Introduction to Silent Film (Price - £6)

All seminars begin at 6.30pm at St Bartholomews Pathology Museum, 3rd Floor Robin Brook Centre, Barts Hospital site, West Smithfield, EC1A 7BE

Tickets include refreshments.

Please contact Carla Connolly at if you would like to be added to the Pathology Museum’s mailing list.

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