Student’s art project will increase understanding of epilepsy

01 June 2016

Student’s art project will increase understanding of epilepsy

A Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) student is behind a stunning art exhibition to raise awareness and understanding of epilepsy.

The art work, which explores historic and present-day experiences of the condition, is the product of Beyond Epilepsy: a collaboration between visual artists, historians and scientists, led by research student Rachel Hewitt from the University’s Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare.

With the help of the University’s Magnusson Awards, a series of pop-up exhibitions will take place across Scotland, enabling Rachel and the Beyond Epilepsy project to convey to the public what it feels like to have epilepsy. The first exhibition will take place at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) from June 9, as part of the Glasgow Science Festival.

Research student Rachel said: “I’m really excited about being able to share our work with the local community. Throughout history, people with epilepsy have faced severe stigma largely due to poor understanding of the condition. Even in the present day, misconceptions surrounding epilepsy lead many to hide their condition.

“By working with a host of brilliant individuals and organisations from across Scotland to communicate these experiences through our exhibitions, we hope to raise awareness of epilepsy and improve people’s understanding of it.”

Rachel is one of 13 students presented with a Magnusson Award in the name of the University’s late Chancellor, the journalist and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson KBE. The annual awards support the ambitions and dreams of talented students and researchers at GCU.

Students, their families and friends, staff and invited guests attended the annual Magnus Magnusson Award event hosted by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE and Dr Sally Magnusson, daughter of the late Chancellor and Honorary President of the Magnusson Fellowship at GCU.

Professor Gillies said: “As the University for the Common Good, we are so proud of the achievements that have been made possible over the years through this incredible initiative. The projects will enable the recipients to develop personally or professionally, giving something back to communities around the world.”

Dr Magnusson said: “It is wonderful to see the University continuing to nurture students and researchers with such creativity and drive. The 2016 Magnus Magnusson Award winners are no exception and I know that they will make good use of these special grants and act as worthy ambassadors for the University and the Awards.”

Jillian Watt, Director of the Glasgow Caledonian University Foundation, said: “Since the awards began in 2008, in honour of Magnus and his passion for learning, over 60 students have been able to realise their dreams and ambitions. This year was particularly special with the addition of the Sir Alex Ferguson Magnusson Awards.”