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Genetic Counsellor drawing a family tree

EXHIBITION - Empowering People: Genetic Counselling in Focus

The latest exhibition at the Wellcome Genome Campus explores the vital but often little-known work of genetic counsellors.

A Bunch of Viruses

Significant: A Bunch of Viruses

Please note: this event has been CANCELLED

Thu 5 March - Thu 9 April

Alison Richard Building

Works are located on the plinths in the atrium of the ARB.

Open weekdays from 09:00 – 19:00 (in term), 09:00 – 17:00 (out of term)

Exhibition Private View Thursday 5 March 2020, 18:00 – 20:00

Significant Bunch of Viruses, 2017
How do we remember medial pioneers who have changed the path of humanity by saving us all from infection? Should we put a bunch of flowers on their graveside, or by their favourite place, and sit and remember them?

The strangely beautiful world of microbes is explored in this exhibition, using mixed media and ceramic bouquets; the Influenza virus sits on weighing scales balanced against a large vaccine producing egg; Tuberculosis bacteria sprout from milk bottles; the HIV virus flows from an old urinal jar, and Smallpox virus cluster together as if actually inside the bloodstream.

Quarantine Boxes, 2019
Collections of ephemera and tiny microbial sculptures are contained inside old wooden boxes, suggesting containment of the disease, of putting them into isolation or quarantine. They also act as coffins and as a way to remember the individuals lost to these diseases.

Quarantine; Noun

Strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease
Detention or isolation enforced
Place, especially a hospital, where people are detained
Period of 40 days.

Helen Birnbaum creates stories in clay, using this ancient material to explore modern imagery and mythologies of our lives today. Helen has exhibited at the World Museum Liverpool, the Gordon Museum at Guy’s Hospital, and Art Box Basel. In 2018 she won the Victoria & Albert Museum/Morley Gallery Ceramic prize. In 2014 she was resident Ceramic Artist at Liverpool Hope University.

Helen would like to thank the immunologist Matthew Helbert for his advice in creating these works.

Cost: free

Ages: All ages

Enquiries and booking

No need to book.

Enquiries: Judith Weik Website Email: jw571@cam.ac.uk Telephone: 01223747471


9:00am-5:00pm on weekdays from Thursday 5 March until Friday 10 April (except on Bank Holidays)

All times

Thu 5 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 6 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Mon 9 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tue 10 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 11 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 12 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 13 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Mon 16 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tue 17 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 18 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 19 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 20 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Mon 23 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tue 24 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 25 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 26 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 27 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Mon 30 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tue 31 March 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 1 April 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 2 April 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Fri 3 April 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Mon 6 April 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tue 7 April 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Wed 8 April 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Thu 9 April 9:00AM - 5:00PM


Address: Alison Richard Building
Sidgwick Site
7 West Road
United Kingdom
Email: jw571@cam.ac.uk
Telephone: 01223747471