During 2013-2014 CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle took part in the Science Museum’s LATES programme, developing and leading a series of guided gallery tours on mental health heritage.
The highly popular Lates event takes place on the last Wednesday of each month, from 6:45pm to 10:00pm. Each month has a different theme and offers a varied programme of free, adults only entertainment with talks, events and activities in the galleries.
CoolTan Arts received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant of £10,000 to research and lead the series of guided tours. Since January 2013, volunteers from the group undertook research on objects in the Science Museum’s stores and public collection, interpreting them in the context of mental health, giving new perspective on the meaning and historical significance of Science Museum collections.
The accompanying book and DVD, CoolTan Arts Stays Up LATES: A Creative and Interactive Journey Exploring the History of Science and Mental Health is free and available from CoolTan Arts. It is a sumptuously illustrated guide to the project which includes many of the original talks given by volunteers on the guided tours. You can view a digital copy online here:
The group developed and ran the following tours:
‘Festina Lente’ (Hurry Slowly) Tour – Discover how the modern pace of life affects our mental wellbeing. The Industrial Revolution brought about new technologies in transport and communication, like the steam engine and the telegraph. These kinds of developments have profoundly changed our pace of life and continue to do so. Is the modern pace of life making us sick?
Food for Thought – Explore the relationship between food and mental wellbeing from the 19th century onwards. Everyone is probably familiar with the saying “you are what you eat”, but is there such a thing as happy food? Perceptions of healthy food and drink depend, among other things, on the time, the environments we live in and the religious and moral beliefs we uphold.
(Re)presenting Madness and Mental Distress – Photography has always been a powerful way of representing the world and people around us. Yet what these images tell us, depends on who interprets them and who has the power to decide what they represent.
Robots: Friends or Foes? – A guided tour to explore the history of robots, our relationship with computers and robots, and how robotics and automated machines affect our mental health. How do you think robots could assist in your life? Come and design your own!
Treatment or Experiment – Exploring the relationship between treatment and experiment in scientific psychology, this tour guided walkers around Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology, a recently opened Science Museum exhibition on the mind and nerves.
A video about the project, made by CoolTan’s Video Group can be watched online here: