15 May 2014

BODY WORLDS Vital arrives at Life – open to the public from Saturday 17 May 2014

“Every once in a while, you get the chance to experience something so deeply moving that it has the potential to change your life…. this exhibition offers one of those moments,” explains Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Life where, on Saturday, (17 May), Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS Vitalwill make its UK debut. 

BODY WORLDS Vital is one of seven exhibitions in the BODY WORLDS series which, globally, have been seen by over 38 million people in cities across America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. This version, which has never been seen in the UK, celebrates the potential of the human body, giving visitors a detailed look at its keenly intelligent design, exploring how it functions and what happens when disease strikes.

Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS exhibits are the first public anatomical exhibitions of plastinates – real human bodies which have been preserved through plastination.

Plastination, a process which halts the decomposition of the body, was invented by pioneering anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens for scientific and medical education. The process sees the fluids in the body replaced with plastics such as silicone rubber, polymers and resins to permanently preserve the specimens.

Linda Conlon added: “BODY WORLDS Vital celebrates the living human body in its optimal state—healthy, vibrant, vigorous, and in motion.  To see exhibition is to be moved, inspired and struck by the miracles of the human body that we take for granted every day. Not only is it a visually stunning experience but it offers such a rare insight into our own bodies that you can’t fail to be anything less than amazed.”

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to explore human anatomy, physiology and health through a series of full body plastinates, individual organs and transparent body slices that give a complete picture of how the human body works, celebrating its potential and examining its complexities with the overall message being one of vitality, fitness and health.

Dr. Angelina Whalley, Curator and Designer of the BODY WORLDS exhibitions and head of the Institute for Plastination, said:  “I hope for visitors to Vital to be inspired by the body’s potential and capacity of change.”

On Vital making its UK debut in Newcastle at the Centre for Life, she added: “I am struck by the synergy, symmetry and poetry of having the trailblazing science of plastination presented at Life, the pioneering science village which has the co-founder of DNA, Nobel Laureate, Dr. James Watson as its patron. Our mission dovetails with that of Life – to engage visitors and ignite an interest in the life sciences.”

Among the full body plastinates on display within the exhibition there is a relay runner posed mid-handover to display the muscular system, a pair of footballers jumping to head a ball and a gymnast posed mid-air in a spread-eagle jump.  Healthy and diseased organs are shown alongside each other allowing visitors to see how lifestyle choices may affect the body, while stunning displays of the nervous and cardiovascular systems give evidence of the further intricacies lying beneath the skin.

All bodies displayed in BODY WORLDS Vital have been willed by donors to be used for scientific purposes and to increase public awareness of the complexity of the human body. BODY WORLDS exhibitions are the only exhibitions to rely on an established body donation programme.  To date, more than 14,000 donors around the world have bequeathed their bodies to Dr von Hagens’ Institute for Plastination after death.

Special events during the BODY WORLDS Vital exhibition:

During the course of exhibition’s six-month stay in Newcastle, Life will be running a programme of events, debates and lectures delivered in partnership with Northumbria and Newcastle Universities among others.

Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Engagement at Northumbria University, said:  “Northumbria University’s burgeoning partnership with Centre for Life is centred on our joint ambition to create initiatives that encourage people to think about science in a new light.

“Body Worlds Vital, which will no doubt have visitors travelling from across the UK, is the latest example and one that I’m delighted to say will see my colleague Stephen Boddy involved as ‘Anatomist-in-Residence’.”

Events alongside BODY WORLDS Vital include:

Over My Dead Body – A panel debate on the ethics of displaying corpses

Wednesday, 21 May 2014, 7:00pm – 8:00pm.  Chaired by Dr Simon Woods, Co-Director of the Policy Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre. (PEALS), at Newcastle University, the debate will begin at 7pm at Life.  Ticket prices include entrance to BODY WORLDS Vital from 5pm.  To book tickets or find out more, visit life.org.uk

Anatomist in Residence: Stephen Boddy, anatomy demonstrator at Northumbria University will give anatomy demonstrations to visitors and talk about his work.  He will be at Life on Saturday 17 May (from 11am – 4pm) and at regular intervals throughout the course of the exhibition. Check life.org.uk for further dates.

BODY WORLDS Drawing Evenings with artist Rachael Allen. Many artists (amateur and professional) have been inspired by this stunning and awe inspiring collection of real human bodies. Join artist Rachael Allen for a creative evening in BODY WORLDS Vital. The price (£25 per person, per session) includes entry to the exhibition, guidance from Rachael and materials (pencils and paper). Drawing sessions run on the last Thursday of every month from 26 June to 30 October 2014. Places are limited to 20 people per session. To book or find out more visit life.org.uk

Art and the Dead – Lecture Double Bill  Thursday, 16 October 2014

Join Gail-Nina Anderson followed by Paul Koudounaris as they explore the relationship between art and the dead. £15 per person (includes an opportunity to explore BODY WORLDS Vital)

To find out more information about BODY WORLDS Vital and the special events and to buy tickets in advance, visit life.org.uk

Tickets to see the exhibition are included in the entrance prices to Life which are:

Adults: £12.00, Concessions: £9.50. Child (aged 2-17) £7.50 Under 2: Free, Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children): £29.50

Opening times: Monday, Tues, Wed, Fri & Sat: 10am – 6pm; Thurs: 10am – 8pm (last entry 7pm); Sunday: 11am – 6pm.

BODY WORLDS Vital will be showing at Life Science Centre until 2 Nov 2014.

#bodyworlds  @scienceatlife

Guidance notes for visitors with children:

As a guideline, Life suggests that BODY WORLDS Vital is of particular interest to children aged 8 and over, and adults of all ages. This is for guidance only – you know your children best. We advise that all children are accompanied by an adult.  A pre-visit family guide is available to download from life.org.uk .  (http://www.life.org.uk/body-worlds-family-info )

For families with children under 8, Life has a full programme of activity including the Young Explorers’ Zone, shows in the Science Theatre and planetarium along with hands-on exhibitions and activities.

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