Charlie Murphy: Brains in a Dish

15 Oct 2022-14 Jan 2023


Brains in a Dish brings exciting new immersive art + science to Cooper Gallery and Glassworks Digital Space in Barnsley. Artist Charlie Murphy and engineer Robin Bussell use an array of playful digital tools, projections, robotic lasers, disc and reformed laboratory glass to explore and celebrate the cutting edge dementia research Prof. Selina Wray.

Currently, around one million people are estimated to be living with dementia in the UK, including 3,000 people in Barnsley alone. It’s a condition caused by several diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, and sadly one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime unless we bring about life-changing preventions and treatments.

Prof Selina Wray, grew up in Barnsley and now leads a group of dementia researchers at University College London. Prof Wray investigates the underlying causes of dementia, and is particularly interested in how a protein that builds up in the brain causes damage in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

To develop the artworks for the exhibition, Charlie is also collaborating with Dr Eric Hill from Aston University. With Bussell they will run a series of participatory workshops with local community groups to develop some artworks and deliver interactive activities about dementia and brain health. The Barnsley Brains team will also run a series of creative events while the exhibition is open, showcasing their illuminated Brainscan Headdress and popular Neuronal Disco activities.

These will be held for different local groups and schools, with the goal of creating dialogue and capturing changes in perceptions and understanding of dementia and dementia research.

Brains in a Dish is financially supported by Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust, Barnsley MBC, Alzheimer’s Research UK Inspire Fund and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.