Foreign Bodies/Common Ground

The final outing of the current series of WTC found us at the Wellcome Collection, making connections and finding common ground.

“It’s important to be able to make a connection between ourselves and other life forms… to have a larger sense of where we fit into the grand scheme of our planet and the rest of the universe.” Katie Paterson




necklace of fossils

Fossil Necklace, Katie Paterson

WTC#6 Prompts

1. Below are words pulled from the information on two of the featured artists.


– one looks at the inter-connectedness of us and our ancestors,


– the other at the interconnectedness of us with other species.


How are you connected?


Think about specific examples in your own life that demonstrate how you are interconnected in time and through species.


Each of its 170 beads, carved from individual fossils, represents a major event in the evolution of life.


The first beads are billions of years old and relate to the beginnings of single-celled organisms.


The final beads trace the emergence and routes of human beings and their ancestors across the globe.


A powerfully tangible reminder of our deep-rooted connections with each other and other species.


Where birds dance their last, Lêna Bùi


How things connect and interact with each other


How subtle everyday rituals reflect beliefs


Zoonosis – the study of diseases that can pass from animals to humans.


The human–animal interface of ‘high risk cohorts’ – people with high levels of occupational exposure to animals (farmers, animal traders, abattoir and market workers)


She visited small villages with long histories of economies based on harvesting bird feathers.


Coughs and Sneezes…


2. List any superstitions, cures, remedies, etc. that you have grown up with.


The exhibition explores how the unscientific operates alongside the scientific in the various communities’ attitude to health – are we so different?



Safety Wear – Gloves, white coats, masks, uniforms….


3. How do we use dress codes to signify power? How does what we wear affect our ability to connect?


Check out the page ‘Foreign Bodies/Common Ground’ to read the writing that the day inspired.



About claire collison

Writer, photographer, creative facilitator, and breast cancer survivor, I am currently Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Library (WAL) My first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize, and my short stories and poetry have appeared in print and online. In 2015 I was awarded second place in the inaugural Resurgence Prize, the world's first eco poetry competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. This blog began as a space for words generated on my walking/writing workshops at the Mary Ward centre in Bloomsbury - Writing the City (WTC). WTC has since grown to include many other venues, including the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Barbican, the River Rom, Southwark Woods, Aylesbury Estate, and most recently, as part of Walking Women festival, An Intimate Tour of Breasts. I have worked with Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, as the recipient of the first Max Reinhardt Literacy Award, designing teaching resources; and for The Photographers' Gallery, helping school children develop visual literacy as part of 'Seeing More Things'. If you would like me to design a workshop or walk for you, please be in touch!
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