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Genomics Forum · News

Tell them our stories



Exhibits from Surgeons’ Hall Museum “brought to life” at public event


The moving, and often untold, stories of the lives of people whose remains were donated to Edinburgh’s Surgeons’ Hall Museum will be recounted at a public event taking place at the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomy Lecture Theatre, at 18:30hrs on Tuesday 12 February.

Tell them our stories will feature Ann Lingard (novelist, and scientist), Andrew Connell (Collections Manager at the Surgeons' Hall Museum) and Diana Hendry (poet and Costa-shortlisted children's novelist), who will use readings from their works, both factual and part-fiction, to illustrate the human stories of exhibits featured in the collection, and how these continue to be relevant today.

The event follows on from work undertaken by Ann Lingard as a visiting research fellow at the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, where she researched and then wrote the life stories of several of the people who donated their skeletons or organs to the anatomical collection held at Edinburgh’s Surgeons’ Hall. Ann’s stories – together with factual accounts of the way we now treat the collection of tissue and organs for the purposes of teaching and transplants – have been published on the Genomics Forum website.

Speaking in advance of Tuesday’s event, Professor Steve Yearley, Director of the ESRC Genomics Forum, commented:

“In writing Tell them our stories Ann Lingard has been able to reveal the moving, and often tragic, background stories of those whose remains have found their way into anatomical collections, such as that hosted at the Surgeons’ Hall Museum.

“All too often, such collections are now considered upsetting and are misunderstood by our medically-advanced society. But they have been hugely important for the development of our understanding of anatomy and for provoking reflection on the ethics of donation.

“I’m delighted that the Tell them our stories event will provide an opportunity for the public to hear about the real lives of those now represented as exhibits, as well as the importance of anatomical collections in the story of medicine and the social history that surrounds it.”


Tell Them Our Stories