An exhibition about the Big C opens in a dark room with something, I really couldn’t work out what, but it looks like light patterns being shown onto a textured wall.
Skipping quickly through, the main display though is a much more interestingly laid out exhibition, mainly display boards, but each one has been cut through with a silhouette of a person, reminding us how deeply human cancer can be in going beyond the mere physical problem to the emotions a cancer diagnosis can trigger.
There are eight films dotted around the exhibition giving people’s own tales about living with, or fighting cancer. Slightly irritatingly, some of the audio from each film can be heard as background when watching another, but in covid times, it would be harder to provide headphones to listen to them.
BBC journalist George Alagiah, who is living with bowel cancer, meets Vivian Li, Stem Cell and Cancer scientist, as she creates ‘mini-organs’ in the quest to personalise cancer treatments. Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Scientist Karen Vousden talks to Alix Fox to bust some cancer myths including do elephants get cancer and is cancer ‘contagious’?
Elsewhere, lots of information boards, with each colour coded zone looking at a different aspect of cancer or cancer treatment.
It’s not a display to look at artefacts or the like – after all cancer cells are quite small, and cancer-killing equipment is needed in hospitals.
But it’s informative, in a short visit sort of way, and being right next to St Pancras station makes it very easy to visit. Just pop outside by the Thameslink exit and cross the road to the Francis Crick Insitute.
The exhibition, Outwitting Cancer is open until 15th July and is free to visit. It’s open Wed – Sun 10am to 4pm, with late opening on Wednesdays to 8pm.