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Our Kid gets under the skin of Manchester’s medical history

Our Kid: Medical Manchester | 1948 - 2008 22nd October - 29th November 2008 The foyer at Manchester Central Library

A larger than life size figure was unveiled at a glittering launch event on Monday [20 October], revealing the dramatic changes in Manchester's medical history like never before. A new installation, with a multi-media exhibition at its heart, traces the regions past medical breakthroughs and blows the lid on what healthcare could be like in the future.

Now located until 29th November, in the foyer at Manchester Central Library Our Kid is made up of several digital screens, packed with facts, figures and short films which follow the changes in healthcare over the last 60 years, and look to the possibilities of healthcare in the future. Our Kid also incorporates films made by young people from Manchester who worked with local experts to imagine what healthcare might be like in 2048. Taking their cues from the generations of developments in healthcare, teenagers made their own public information style films, showing medicine and healthcare in 2048 to be more preventative, personalised and research-based. Some of the futuristic ideas include a brain clinic where bad memories can be hidden from your consciousness; growing replacement body organs from stem cells, and a GP appointment via an interactive video wall.

Our Kid includes a selection of memorable public information films from 'Coughs and Sneezes' in 1948 to the unforgettable AIDS campaign of 1987, a drama from Parrswood High School looking at healthcare in Manchester over the last 60 years, and interviews with scientific experts who look to the amazing advancements that might become possible in neuroscience, skin regeneration and psychiatry over the coming decades. Alongside the installation a new graphic novel by artist Al Davison is on display.

Alisa's Tale (A Short Story) is a refreshingly honest story from the perspective of a teenage girl who has dwarfism. Local young people - some with restricted growth and some of average height - were involved in this project, participating in drama workshops and keeping diaries to highlight the issues faced by teenagers in 2008.

Manchester is known as the place where the NHS was announced and the North West region is home to several medical firsts - first NHS patient in 1948; first hip replacement in 1962; first test tube baby in 1978 and the first NHS IVF Clinic in the UK in 1982. Today the city is home to the first and only Biomedical Research Centre in the country to specialise in Genetics and Developmental Medicine.

A programme of free public events is running alongside the installation at venues across the city, highlighting Manchester's pivotal role in biomedical research. These include:

  • 60 years of progress: Leukaemia
  • Manchester: Giving birth to IVF
  • Public debate - 'No jab, no school': When should the state dictate our health decisions? Chaired by Quentin Cooper at URBIS
  • Tuberculosis: An unwelcome return

Professor Dian Donnai, Executive Director of Nowgen, is emphatic about the contributions made by health professionals in Manchester: "Our Kid is an exciting way for us to tell an important story of the history of the NHS in the North West. Without the groundbreaking research undertaken by the NHS, lots of the medical breakthroughs which we take for granted just wouldn't have happened. Our Kid gives us an opportunity to let people, especially the younger generation, into an exciting area of healthcare, to celebrate some of the pioneering achievements and of course have some fun.

"Through this exhibition we see the tremendous achievements of the last 60 years. Healthcare is changing from a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to more personalised and preventative care. That Manchester continues to be a world leader in specific areas of research is exciting and impacts upon everybody within our region. Our Kid celebrates these achievements and generates interest in the future of healthcare for all."

Our Kid coincides with Manchester Science Festival which runs throughout the city from 25th October to 2nd November 2008.

For further information visit www.nowgen.org.uk


Manchester Central Library
St. Peter's Square
M2 5PD

Telephone: 0161 234 1900

Open Monday - Thursday 9.00 am-8.00 pm and Friday and Saturday 9.00 am-5.00 pm.