NEWS & EVENTS
In the 1950s, the Wellcome Foundation was still cultivating Ergot – a parasitic fungus – for use in making pharmaceutical drugs. The story of this fungus connects fascinating themes including the edge between poison and medicine; witchcraft; midwifery, gendered knowledge and reproductive rights. During this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to work with visual material from the archive, and create models based on the parasitic fungus. Whilst making together we will explore the themes brought up by the story of ergot.
A performative evening of discussion with: Luiza Prado, Edna Bonhomme, Rebecca Beinart, Tereza Silon and others, accompanied by shared food made with medicinal plants.
Join Rebecca Beinart for a drop-in workshop to sift through images and get intimate with the Elephant's Foot Yam. We will make drawings of the plant from dried samples, herbarium copies and a rich array of archival material. Whilst we draw we will piece together the story of the wild yam, indigenous uses and knowledge, colonial plant-hunting and taxonomy, its use in pharmaceutical drug manufacture, and issues around contemporary conservation.
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.
A workshop to make your own tonic water using Cinchona bark, the quinine-rich plant that gives tonic its bitter flavour. We’ll try out recipes together, share a gin and tonic, and trace the story of quinine. Originally utilised by the indigenous Quechua people of South America, the bark of the Cinchona tree connects the invasion of these lands to expanding European colonialism, disease, biopiracy and pharmaceuticals.