Live Project – Curating the IN GALLERY (Week 1 – Diabetes)


I have been assigned the role of curator of the IN GALLERY at Cardiff School of Art and Design. I will be working with a graphics student and together we will put on weekly exhibitions of work by students, staff and visitors of CSAD.

This week our opening exhibition is about diabetes displaying a selection of objects that Sophie Chatham (3rd Year Illustration student) has accumulated over the years.


Exhibition blurb:

The In Gallery presents:


Changing display, 6th October – 13th October

Objects belonging to Sophie Chatham, 3rd Year Illustration student, CSAD.

Type 1 Diabetes definition:

Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age but usually appears before the age of 40, and especially in childhood.  Around 10% of all diabetes is type 1, but it’s the most common type of childhood diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas (a small gland behind the stomach) doesn’t produce any insulin – the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. If the amount of glucose in the blood is too high, it can, over time, seriously damage the body’s organs.

Diabetes can’t be cured, but treatment aims to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible, and control your symptoms to prevent health problems developing later.

If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll be referred to a diabetes care team for specialist treatment and monitoring.

Taken from the NHS website :

This display shows a collection of objects that form a part of Sophie’s world. The items as a collective create an illustration of her day to day life.

Why are these objects packaged in this way? How is the manufacturers idea of diabetes very different to the realities? In this gallery the pristine packeted items have been juxtaposed against the blood stained machine.

Sophie has talked about how it was strange to be given items such as the luxury pen at age 12 and Lenny the Lion at age 18. One has to question the logic of this order.

The arrangement of some items, such as the pen’s show the changing manufacture of the same item through time. The object does the same job and remains consistent while its exterior constantly changes. Sophie says that despite the continual changes the simpler design that she used when she was 11 was better. In order to constantly sell new machines they feel they have to ‘update’ the tools and the design’s are literally a new façade.

A list of medication / prescription information

Insulin pump manual/user guide

Records of blood sugar levels

A variety of finger pickers

Newest blood sugar tester

Carbohydrate counting and insulin quantity records

Old used blood sugar tester

Luxury Insulin injection pen- given age 12

Lenny the lion pump case – given age 18

Insulin pump set primed in the inserter

Insulin injection pen

Insulin pump set inserter

Insulin pump reservoirs

Unused tester as the manufacturer intended

Used case

THE IN GALLERY features weekly exhibitions of work by staff, students and guests of CSAD/Cardiff Metropolitan University.  This has been curated by Emma Harry and Sophie Chatham, 3rd Year Illustration students, CSAD.


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