Parkinson's UK Oxford Branch Parkinson's UK, our parent charity

July 2019

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Brain Awareness Week: Picturing Parkinson's at the Ashmolean

 Jonathan Bromley

The Ashmolean Museum, artists and neuroscientists collaborated to present a thought-provoking series of events in the Museum to mark this year’s Brain Awareness Week.

Bodies, faces and limbs made from thin plastic wire… multi-coloured brain hats for all… cognitive testing in the Ashmolean… All this and more was part of the activities marking Brain Awareness Week on March 16th. Neuroscientists led by Dr Chrystalina Antoniades, artists, students and youngsters participated in an open session in the Museum inviting us to think about perception and cognition, especially as related to Parkinson’s.

Visiting artist Yejeong Mutter (website)challenged our perceptions with her intriguing three-dimensional wireframe artwork.

As well as being amazing feats of craftsmanship, the faces surprised us by appearing strikingly different when lit from above or below. Some were made of black plastic wire and others were transparent, giving varied effects and shadows when lit. Yejeong had also created sculptures of isolated limbs to try to capture the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s who may feel that some parts of their bodies aren’t really “theirs”.

Prof. Antoniades’ team created a 6-minute video saying more about the inspiration for this initiative, with Yejeong describing her work as it relates to Parkinson’s. You can see the video below, or at this link.

Paper “brain caps” helped children (and our Chair!) understand the shape and function of various parts of the brain. If you would like to make your own, you can find the printable templates online at designer Ellen McHenry’s website.

The researchers had brought with them a series of cognitive challenges for us. There’s one at the bottom of this page. Read it out loud, but don’t say the words as they are written. Instead, say the name of the colour in which each word is printed. I don’t have Parkinson’s, but I was certainly shaking after I did that!

Say out loud the colours, not the words!

How quickly can you say them correctly?

black white yellow green red yellow red black green white red white green red black yellow green black white yellow green red blue white green red

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