Murallitharan is a medical doctor from Malaysia and currently a Chevening scholar studying the MSc Health Policy, Planning & Financing, taught jointly by the School and LSE.
If you have walked upstairs at the School Library (up those narrow submarine-like stairs) you will have found yourself at the Wellcome Gallery, the slightly noisy space with tables that students can sit at and discuss or doodle. Interestingly, in a simple random survey of colleagues (with no scientific basis whatsoever), only a paltry one person immediately connected the space to the Wellcome Trust. Really interesting answers included: “I thought that Wellcome was a spelling error with two l’s…”
Curiosity got the better of this cat… and on a Thursday evening I managed to drag my colleague Michelle along with me to the Wellcome Collection, the home of one Wellcome Trust (with two l’s no less). The Trust, the legacy of Sir Henry Wellcome, features not only his various collected items, but also is an eminent institution of scientific research and learning, funding a lot of important research over the years including at the School.
Situated on Euston Road, the Victorian marble pillared building stands out in stark relief, illuminated in surreal coloured red and blue lights. Walking into the clear, brightly lit and warm surroundings, you find yourself in a bustle of activity with people of all ages walking around or sitting down. The exhibitions halls are all medically-related, with the current ground floor one housing an exhibition on Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, yoga practices and mindfulness. You can lose yourself in the vivid recreation of the Tibetan atmosphere, obtaining glimpses into the hidden world of chakras, tantric practices and healing. The most interesting thing about this was how it was linked at the end to current mindfulness research.
You could spend so much of time wandering the galleries upstairs, with an exhibition on modern medicine through interesting scientific artistic interpretations such as the Obesity Model and a humorous audio exhibit of a first-time dissection of a human heart.
But the true heart of the Wellcome (no pun intended) is the Medicine Man gallery, featuring Henry Wellcome: the man and his legacy. Though only visible in the painting of his likeness, he truly cuts a large shadow across the gallery (and in the scientific world) via the things he did and the institution he left behind. It must be said that he had a dark, quirky sense of medical humour that you would only appreciate when you are there. A large, truly wondrous reading room reminiscent in some ways of the School Library, a modern library with excellent access and a nice cafe restaurant are some other interesting features of the Gallery.
The Wellcome is open every day until 6pm and on Thursdays and first Fridays on the month until 10pm. For those with a medical bend it promises a fresh interesting look at the world of medicine. Google them at www.wellcome.ac.uk or just walk by!