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From Plants to Pills: Elephants Foot to Cortisone

  • Primary 33 Seely Road Nottingham, England, NG7 United Kingdom (map)

This workshop will delve into the development of Cortisone in the 1950s, when Boots established a purpose-built factory in Beeston to produce the drug from Elephants Foot, a South African yam. During these early years of steroid drug development, Cortisone was hailed as a miracle cure. During the workshop we’ll cook and eat yam together and trace the story of Boots bioprospecting for steroid-rich plants in South Africa, and the impact of Cortisone on the development of medicine.

This is the first of two hands-on workshops with artist Rebecca Beinart, exploring plant ingredients used by Boots to develop and produce medicines at their factories in Nottingham. Take a closer look at the 'exotic' ingredients Boots were importing during the era of British Empire, find connections between every-day drugs, plants, colonialism and ownership of knowledge, and explore recipes and records from the archive.

These workshops are part of Rebecca Beinart’s ‘Urban Antibodies’ project and are supported by the University of Nottingham.

Image: Boots Archive

Image: Boots Archive