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‘The Institute of Sexology’ opens at expanded Wellcome Collection

Thursday, 20th November, saw the opening of ‘The Institute of Sexology’ to the public at Wellcome Collection, London. Running until 20 September 2015 ‘The Institute of Sexology’ will be the first exhibition in a £17.5million expansion of Wellcome Collection and occupies a new gallery dedicated to year-long shows. On completion next year, guests can enjoy events in the ‘Medicine Now’ gallery followed by an exploration of the showcase. 

Featuring over 200 objects spanning art, rare archival material, erotica, film, photography, medical artefacts and ethnography, the exhibition moves between pathologies of perversion and contested ideas of normality as sex is observed, analysed and questioned. ‘The Institute of Sexology’ will evolve during its run with new commissions, live events, discussions and performances within the gallery space that will animate the exhibition designed around visitor contribution and reflective personal experience. The show will form part of a Sexology Season of activity across the country.   

The show is also the first of its kind in the UK to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex. The show explores how the diverse research, methods and collections of sexologists have shaped attitudes towards sexual behavior and identity.

Wellcome Collection is creating new galleries and spaces to meet overwhelming demand. Stirling Prize winning architects Wilkinson Eyre masterminded the new design, bringing new areas into use and linking layers of activity with a dramatic new spiral staircase and interconnected galleries. Events and meeting spaces will be transformed and guests will be able to view exhibitions such as ‘The Institute of Sexology’ as part of their event.

Daniel Caleb, event spaces manager at Wellcome Collection commented, “It’s fantastic to see the first year-long exhibition open since the refurbishment began, particularly one as interesting, thought-provoking and vital as ‘The Institute of Sexology’. These exhibitions highlight the Wellcome Collections links between art and medicine and we hope that they will position us a destination for events with a difference.”

Alongside the year-long exhibitions, there will be a continued programme of temporary shows, a transformation of the Reading Room into an innovative public space, expanded facilities in the Wellcome Library, a dedicated youth Studio, a new restaurant, Wellcome Kitchen, and an interdisciplinary research space, the Hub at Wellcome Collection. The event spaces within the conference centre have also been refreshed for the autumn in line with Wilkinson Eyre’s holistic approach to the design, using soft furnishings and a bold purple and teal colour palette.

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