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Word of Mouth

A public exhibition curated by the Royal College of Surgeons in collaboration with Craigmillar Community Arts and Social Anthropology ("the bones collective"), Osteoarchaeology, and Edinburgh College of Art. On display in front of the Royal College of Surgeons, Nicholson Street, 13th August - 13th November, 2014.

Still life with skull 7The Word of Mouth exhibition has been a truly collaborative effort between The University of Edinburgh ("the bones collective"), Surgeons’ Hall Museum, Craigmillar Community Arts and Forensic Artist Gillian Taylor. The idea for this exhibition was inspired by a skull found in Edinburgh College of Art’s teaching collection. At the start of the project, nothing was known about the identity of this skull. To make the study of the skull relevant to a wide audience, the investigation took two forms - scientific analysis and a processes of open public engagement. The public engagement started with an interactive installation by University of Edinburgh. The installation was part of The ASA 2014 conference, where attendees and members of the public were asked to build displays around the skull.  A number of stills were produced during the conference and work began to turn the information into a public exhibition and wider engagement project. As part of Surgeons’ Hall Museums outreach programme, a 3D print of the skull was taken to Craigmillar Community Arts during the Craigmillar Arts Festival. Here, members of the community interpreted their own cultural and personal significance of the skull. Their interpretation created a narrative and brought a deeper understanding to how people relate to human remains. During the process, scientific analysis to the cranium and mandible provided the missing information on gender, age and nutrition; and a forensic reconstruction revealed the identity of the skull. The processes were captured and will be part of a public exhibition displayed at the front of The Royal College of Surgeons, Nicolson Street, from 13th August – 13th November 2014 and available to view on line. The project aims to gain to encourage academics and the public to discuss their views on skulls and identity. Comments and discussions will be invited via QR codes on the panel, wordpress and youtube. For more information visit the website of the Surgeons' Hall Museum.

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