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Friday 5 July 2013

Symposia: Mortality: Death and the Imagination



Mortality: Death and the Imagination

(Followed by Holden Gallery Preview for Mortality: Death and the Imagination 5pm - 7.30pm)

The symposia will consist of two short presentations and a keynote lecture from Dr Iona Heath. The event is designed to complement the exhibition Mortality: Death and the Imagination, which brings together seven artists, all of whose work explores issues beyond the surface level responses; examining the degrees of separation between thought, experience and imagination.

Imagining Mortality, Clive Parkinson

The presentation will consider the relationship between the arts and health agenda in the context of our desire for wellbeing and inevitable death.

Curating Mortality, Steven Gartside

The presentation will look at strategies of divergence and avoidance in wider attitudes towards mortality. There will be a focus on some of the literary devices used to deal with the subject, as well as a consideration of some of the work in the show.

Keynote Lecture/Talk

Memento Mori, Iona Heath

The lecture questions how it is that at the beginning of the 21st century we have forgotten how to die and have even forgotten that death is itself a gift? The art and literature of previous generations was steeped in the tradition of memento mori designed to make humanity explicitly aware of the brevity of life and of the urgent need to use the short time to its limits. Today we who live in the richer countries of the world have the unprecedented good fortune of a gratifyingly extended expectation of life but, apparently still dissatisfied with this, we seem to want to push it further and pretend that life can be indefinitely extended.


Dr Iona Heath worked as an inner city GP at the Caversham Group Practice in Kentish Town in London from 1975 until 2010. In November 2009, she was elected as President of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She has written regularly for the British Medical Journal, her book ‘Matters of Life and Death’ was published in 2007.

Clive Parkinson is the Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University and chair of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing. He is currently involved in research around the impact of the arts on dementia and is working on a range of European cultural projects.

Dr Steven Gartside is the curator of the Holden Gallery, a Research Fellow for MIRIAD at Manchester School of Art and author of the publications: Accumulation: Experiencing the City, Addendum : Architecture, Sculpture and the Space of Transition and the co-author with Sam Gathercole of concrete thoughts: modern architecture and contemporary art.

Although this event is free to attend, places are limited and you must register with

Valeria Ruiz for it at

175 Anniversary

This event is one of 175 publically accessible events and exhibitions that took place in the UK and overseas throughout 2013 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Manchester School of Art.