University of Dundee

Material Concerns: LifeSpace exhibition explores consent in donation and use of human tissue in life, art and scientific research

02 Feb 2015

The use of human materials for research, donation and art will be the focus of the second exhibition at LifeSpace, the new research-driven science art gallery which is a collaborative partnership between researchers from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and researchers from the College of Life Sciences. 

The new exhibition Material Concerns brings together work by Gina Czarnecki, David Connearn, Carolee Schneemann, Verena Friedrich and Alec Finlay with current research and historical artefacts from the University of Dundee to promote better understanding of the various processes of consent and the ethics employed in the donation and use of human tissue.

Within a research setting, work that involves human tissue is subject to strict regulatory requirements, as is the possession of human material for medical and scientific education or training. But what ethical framework exists for the use of human tissue from living consenting donors in art? 

Dr. Sarah Cook, Curator of the Science Art Research Gallery said, “We are delighted to be able to show the work of these internationally acclaimed artists. 

“This exhibition is particularly important as it deals with issues of informed consent and donation of human tissue in life, science and art in a space specifically designed to provide the public with greater insight into the broad spectrum of life sciences research and artistic practice through cross-disciplinary collaboration. Our aim is to prompt members of the public to consider if living people should be able to donate their own human tissue to art and what ethical approval mechanisms exist to address such an issue.”

Gina Czarnecki's work PALACES is a magical sculpture containing milk-teeth which have been donated by the public, which has been seen in cities across the UK. If you would like your milk-tooth to be part of the PALACE please collect a form from the gallery. 

The artist will be present at the opening but will also return to Dundee in the spring to host a workshop day when children can be involved in the process of adding their teeth to the PALACE; sign up for updates and information on this special event by emailing

The exhibition runs from 6 February till 30 May 2015 and will run concurrently with the Dundee Women in Science Festival (March 7 - March 28, 2015). Further details of the LifeSpace Festival timetable can be found in the Dundee WiSF Programme which will be available city-wide later this February.

About LifeSpace

The mission of LifeSpace is to engage artists and scientists in exciting new collaborations and enable opportunities for interdisciplinary art and science interactions as well as providing a location for curatorial exchange between staff, students, researchers and the general public.

About the Exhibition

Including work by Gina Czarnecki, David Connearn, Carolee Schneemann, Verena Friedrich and Alec Finlay alongside current research and historical artefacts from the University of Dundee.

6 February - 30 May 2015

Preview: Thursday 5 February 2015, 6-8pm
Exhibition tour with the curator and artists at 5pm (RSVP)

The gallery is located at the side entrance to the College of Life Sciences at the very top of Old Hawkhill Road University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 5EH

Saturday 11am-5pm

Monday to Friday by appointment only 

Image: Gina Czarnecki, Detail of Palaces (2010 –). Courtesy of the artist.