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Biomedicine in museums

The aesthetics of healthy aging

As you may know, Medical Museion takes part in a multidisciplinary Center for Healthy Aging here at the University of Copenhagen. Currently, two of our junior researchers, postdoc Lucy Lyons and phd student Morten Bülow, are doing their research projects within the scope of the Center, and we are about to recruit yet another phd student.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to readers of this blog that our contribution to the overall Center activities involves a strong aesthetic component.

For example, we experimented with an aesthetic approach to aging in the Oldetopia exhibition two years ago. Lucy’s joining our group last December was a deliberate attempt to strengthen the aesthetic side. And the current exhibition ‘Healthy Aging: A Life Span Approach’ (see also here), shown in our external exhibition area in the main building of the Faculty of Health Sciences is dominated by Danish photographer Liv Carlé Mortensen’s 15 collages of centennarians (like this one).

I just want to mention this as a background for why the upcoming conference on ‘Aging, Old Age, Memory, Aesthetics’ in Toronto, 25-27 March next year may be quite interesting for us. The conference focuses on how aging is portrayed and experienced in literature and the arts in light of social, political, scientific and cultural contexts:

In using the term aesthetics, we are drawing attention to the arts, aesthetic practices, theories of art, and modes of representation as they pertain to aging and memory. We look forward to presentations that analyze a variety of theoretical, thematic, and disciplinary approaches that remain linked by the consistent placement of old age and aging at the centre of concentrated investigation.

They are also recruiting creative submissions by artists whose work is concerned with the images generated by old age. 300-word proposals should be sent to by Friday 1 October 1, 2010.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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