#citylis Student Perspectives: Discovering the Wellcome Collection by Christopher Harbottle

Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students.

This post is by current #citylis student, Christopher Harbottle.

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The Permanent Exhibition

On Wednesday 19th October 2016, I visited ‘The Wellcome Collection’, which is a museum and library dedicated to medicine. There was a permanent exhibition on the first floor and I found the section about ‘Obesity’ the most interesting.

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When I first entered the section, there was huge sculpture of what I thought was an exceedingly large deformed ball of fat on two legs.

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However, this is what it was described as by the artist, John Isaacs:

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Then I read a plaque written by ‘Paul Sacher’. The first part was about ‘childhood obesity’. He talked about how most children spend too much time inside playing video games, or watching television, combined with unhealthy eating, and not getting the advised minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day.

I agree with this, and I think the reason this has happened is because we have entered a technological era, where most people in the ‘Western World’ have computers, iPads, game consoles and TV’s. Also, some parents don’t have time to take their children outside everyday – especially if they are working hard to maintain a lifestyle they would like their family to have. Furthermore, when they are home they have basic household tasks to do, such as, cleaning the house and doing the laundry, so they may occupy their children by putting them in front of the TV or give them an iPad to play on. 

In response to Paul Sacher’s comment about unhealthy eating, I think supermarkets are one of the main contributors to unhealthy eating in general – not just for children. They often have offers for sugary and fatty foods, such as, crisps, biscuits and cakes, instead of offers for the healthier foods, such as, fruit and vegetables. Consequently, parents are likely to buy more unhealthier food because it’s cheaper. Therefore if supermarkets changed their pricing strategies, people in general may become healthier. Furthermore, here is an article from the ‘The Telegraph’ about a study conducted by Cambridge University in 2014, which found that “Healthy foods cost three times as much as unhealthy foods…showing a widening gap in the costs between junk foods and fine fare.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11149644/Healthy-diet-costs-three-times-that-of-junk-food.html

Paul Sacher also said that diets don’t really work, because they are something that people practise for short periods of time, and once someone has been obese they have already made more fat cells than someone who has not been obese. Most of the time if someone goes “back to eating or being as sedentary as they were before” and they stop dieting, they will easily put the weight back on, which is “why changing one’s lifestyle seems to work the best.” I can understand this because if somebody is dieting and this is the only change they make to their lifestyle, then when they stop dieting they will end up back to what they were before they started dieting. Therefore, like Paul stated, people need to change their lifestyle rather than just dieting.

Then in another part of the exhibition were 8 cubes in a glass box that spelled ‘dyslexia’.

I found these interesting because I’ve worked in many schools as a teaching assistant through some agencies, and I have worked one-to-one with children who had special needs, including some with dyslexia.

The Reading Room

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When I entered ‘The Reading Room‘, I was instantly amazed by it, as it felt like I’d entered into a different building. It was set up, what I think of, as an old library, as it wasn’t like the rest of the decor in the building, which was modern. ‘The Reading Room’ is a place where you can read the books while you’re there. There were a number of book cases, tables and soft, comfy chairs where people can study and read at. There were also some machines from the 1920’s that were used in medicine, such as, an x-ray machine (pictured below, left) and a dental station (pictured below, right). ‘The Reading Room’ seemed so relaxing and I’m sure I could easily find myself studying or reading in it.

About James

Information Assistant (Academic Services) in the Library at City, University of London.
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