Narrating Plasticity – The Exhibition!

Over Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd February, we welcomed over 300 visitors to the Narrating Plasticity exhibition at King’s College London!

On Friday, visitors attended the exhibition for a drinks reception, a premier of the project film , and a Q&A with project coordinator Benjamin Dalton and collaborators Amanda Doidge and Dr Sandrine Thuret’s team of neuroplasticity researchers from the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

Visitors represented a diverse range of backgrounds, from philosophy, French studies, the arts, medicine, education, politics, and many other areas. This lead to such fertile discussion across boundaries, with a huge range of different reactions to the project and ideas for future collaboration!

Do not hesitate to get in touch with coordinator Benjamin Dalton if you have any reactions or photographs to share, or if you have ideas for how Narrating Plasticity could develop further into the future!

Narrating Plasticity exhibition, Benjamin Dalton
Gathering around for the Q&A with ceramicist Amanda Doidge, project leader Benjamin Dalton, and Alish Palmos, Curie Kim, Chiara De Lucia, Demelza Smeeth and Andrea Du Preez of Dr Sandrine Thuret’s team from the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute following the premier of the project film! Questions from the audience were diverse and challenging, including questions about the future of arts and science collaboration, how neuroplasticity might be used and understood in education, and the ethics of neuro diversity!
Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton
Visitors watch the Narrating Plasticity project film for the first time before the Q&A!
Narrating Plasticity Benjamin Dalton and Amanda Doidge
Collaborator and ceramicist Amanda Doidge with project coordinator Benjamin Dalton welcoming everyone to the exhibition
Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton and Amanda Doidge
Mid Q&A (left to right) ceramicist and collaborator Amanda Doidge, project coordinator Benjamin Dalton, and Alish Palmos, Curie Kim, Chiara De Lucia and Andrea Du Preez of Dr Sandrine Thuret’s neuroplasticity research team from the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute


Narrating plasticity, Benjamin Dalton
The space of the King’s College Anatomy Museum allowed for fertile discussion between people from a range of different disciplines and interests…
Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton
The exhibition told the story of the project in various stages, with a project diary, ceramic work by the scientists, moving image installations, a book for visitors to record their own reactions, and Amanda Doidge’s incredible ceramic reactions to the project…
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Molecular biologist Charlotte Mykura joins the discussion…
Narrating Plasticity exhibition
Architect Thomas Grove
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Child play therapy researcher Claire Neven
Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
(left to right) Dorianne Zerka, project coordinator Benjamin Dalton, Aida Baghernejad and Isabelle Blomfield, who appears in the Narrating Plasticity project film
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Social historian and Economist writer Susannah Savage

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Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity

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Martijn Buijs (left) with Knowledge Exchange Associate Adina Stroia from the Cultural Institute at King’s

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Narrating Plasticity Benjamin Dalton Jennifer Dhingra Isabelle Blomfield
(left to right) Isabelle Blomfield, Christina Johnson, Jennifer Dhingra, Benjamin Dalton and Erik Pazos
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NHS healthcare professional Jacob Etheridge
Benjamin Daltonm, Jennifer Dhingra, Narrating Plasticity
Jennifer Dhingra, medic and advocate for sexual health education, who gives an interview on the plasticity of sex and gender identity in the Narrating Plasticity project film
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Kate Foster, 19th Century French literature researcher at King’s College London
Katie Kedward Narrating Plasticity
Environmental activist and anti-plastics campaigner Katie Kedward with Tom Wheeler
Narrating Plasticity Benjamin Dalton Adam Spratley
Adam Spratley, graphic designer for Narrating Plasticity

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Narrating Plasticity
Ceramicist Amanda Doidge and project leader Benjamin Dalton

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Visions in red
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Researcher in political theory Artin Amjady

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The Narrating Plasticity press wall, with posters designed by the project’s graphic designer Adam Spratley

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Neuroscience researcher Aran Batth
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Financial advisor William Rees studies one of the more peculiar exhibits
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Project leader Benjamin Dalton with artist Ailsa Chaff (left) and television presenter, producer and writer Sannah Salameh (right)
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Researcher in Spanish and Latin American studies Vincent Nadeau

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Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
‘Be your own muse’



Narrating Plasticity The Movie!

We are so excited to share the Narrating Plasticity project film with you!

We made a film about the Narrating Plasticity project with filmmaker Sam Plommer and which premiered at the Narrating Plasticity exhibition launch at the King’s College London anatomy museum on 2nd February 2018!

So many thanks to everyone involved, and hope you enjoy it! Feel free to get in touch with your reactions and comments! 

Project Diary: The Artist in the Neuroscience Lab

The day that ceramicist Amanda Doidge and philosophy researcher Benjamin Dalton stepped foot in the laboratory of the Maurice Wohl Neuroscience Institute

Many conversations were had when Amanda and I spent the afternoon with Dr Sandrine’s team of neuroplasticity researchers at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute. Questions ranged from the scientific to the personal, from the artistic to the political. We looked down microscopes, studied images of neurogenesis, observed stem cell cultures, and talked ceramics.

Questions included:

How do scientists measure plasticity?

What does the concept of “form” mean to science?

Why does life have to take “form”? Is life possible without “form”?

Does (neuro)plasticity only ever describe healthy, helpful processes of evolution and development, or can “bad”, pathological processes also be described as “plastic”?

Amanda Doidge Narrating Plasticity Benjamin Dalton
Ceramicist Amanda Doidge is shown around the lab at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute by neuroplasticity researchers Demelza Streeth, Curie Kim, Andrea Du Perez and Chiara De Lucia
Amanda Doidge Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton
Amanda looking at stem cells through a microscope. Amanda was interested in what forms were produced by the stem cells, and we had many conversations with the scientists about what “form” means from a scientific perspective. In terms of the brain, synaptic “form” is plastic because synapses can rewire and create different networks: so what is the different between the network and the form? Can a network also be a form?
Narrating Plasticity, Amanda Doidge, Benjamin Dalton
Neurogenesis in action: what forms are produced by neuronetworks? Amanda was also fascinated but the colours used by the scientists to differentiate between different types of cells at different stages in their life cycles…
Amanda Doidge, Benjamin Dalton, Narrating Plasticity
Amanda and I talked a lot to the neuroscientists about the lifecycles of a cell, and how different cells come together in the brain to make forms. One question that kept coming up was: if the scientists are measuring neuroplasticity in terms of the rate of neurogenesis – how many new neurons are being produced at anyone time – how does this fit in with the bigger thinking of plasticity? How does a researcher go from the zoomed-in picture of neurogenesis to thinking about the overall plasticity of the brain on a much larger scale?
What is neural form? Neuroscientists talk about plasticity in terms of neurogenesis, and the changing of connections and networks in the brain. How can we think of forms and networks at the same time?
Narrating Plasticity, Benjamin Dalton, Amanda Doidge
The scientists always seemed taken back by how beautiful we found the images of the nascent neurons. Amanda was particularly interested by how the dying cells were colour-coded differently from the living cells, asking exactly what the difference was between these two types of cell and how the dying cells contributed to ongoing “healthy” processes of neuroplasticity. We learned that apoptosis is the process by which cells die in a health and “planned” manner, to make way for new cells or to sculpt forms, “pruning” away unwanted material the way a gardener might prune a bush. Necrosis, on the other hand, is when cells die chaotically and in an unplanned manner, which can cause a lot of problems. It is a very fine balance between the two processes. 
Benjamin Dalton, Amanda Doidge, and the neuroplasticity team Narrating Plasticity
Squadgoals. (From let to right) Amanda Doidge, Curie Kim, Chiara De Lucia, Andrea Du Preez, Demelza Streeth and Benjamin Dalton

Narrating Plasticity The Movie: Behind the Scenes

Benjamin Dalton Ben Dalton Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute
I try out a spot of teat-pipetting in the laboratory at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute
Benjamin Dalton Ben Dalton Anna Kolliakou
Talking to Dr Anna Kolliakou of the King’s College London Cultural Institute and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience who has been advisor on the Narrating Plasticity project!
Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute Benjamin Dalton Sam Plommer Curie Kim Demelza
The dream team <3. Filmmaker Sam Plommer and I with Dr Sandrine Thuret’s neuroplasticity research team at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute. Left to right: Alish Palmos, Chiara De Lucia, Sam Plommer, Benjamin Dalton, Demelza Smeeth, Curie Kim, and Andrea Du Preez
Benjamin Dalton Ben Dalton Dr Sandrine Thuret
Benjamin Dalton in conversation with Dr Sandrine Thuret at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute
Filmmaker Sam Plommer editing some interview footage on the go… 
Sam Plommer Narrating Plasticity
Filmmaker Sam Plommer sets up the lighting for a morning of interviews in Professor Patrick ffrench’s office at the King’s College London French department
Benjamin Dalton Ben Dalton and Sam Plommer
The first interview of the morning with Benjamin Dalton and Sam Plommer
Sam Plommer Maurice Wohl laboratory
Filmmaker Sam Plommer setting up the shot with Dr Sandrine Thuret’s team of neuroplasticity researchers in the laboratory at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute!
Benjamin Dalton
“Ready for my close-up, Mr Demille…”
William Martin Sam Plommer Benjamin Dalton
Interviewing potter and ceramicist William Martin at his studio in the Bussey Building, Peckham. Talking about queer plasticity, masculinity, mental health and ceramics.