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‘The Institute of Sexology’ to be first exhibition at expanded Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection facade
Running from 20 November 2014 to 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. 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.

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. 

Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes at Wellcome Collection, says: “This exhibition is the first of our longer form shows that provide an opportunity to evolve our exploration of a wide-ranging subject over more time and in greater depth than is usual for museums and galleries. In this, and future projects presented in the same gallery, we will experiment with the idea of carrying on curating an exhibition after it has been launched, making live interventions through performance and events, and learning from being open to the public. We hope that ‘The Institute of Sexology’ will become a living repository for visitors’ stories, inspiring debate and self-reflection on this most fascinating and vital of topics.”   

Wellcome Collection is creating new galleries and spaces to meet overwhelming demand. Stirling Prize winning architects Wilkinson Eyre are transforming the venue, bringing new areas into public use and linking layers of activity with a dramatic new spiral staircase and interconnected galleries.

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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