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Innovative methods in art and science

19 May 2010

Camberwell College of Art MA student Magda Kaggwa has beaten students from Camberwell and Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Art, University of the Arts London, to win the first Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Nucleus Commission Award.

This annual Award is for a series of works to be displayed in the BRC Nucleus reception area at the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for Mental Health at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King’s College London (KCL).

Magda's winning entry is a collection of six prints which portray the human skull being gradually consumed by flowers representing the beauty and complexity of the mind.

Director of the BRC Nucleus, Professor Matthew Hotopf, said: 'Of the high standard of applications, we were particularly impressed with Magda’s work. We felt that her work perfectly portrayed the objective of the award; that is, to demonstrate how basic science can benefit the individual, to bridge the gap between research and the outside world.'

The BRC Nucleus is a high-tech multi-platform research hub dedicated to speeding up the process of science discoveries in mental health into real life benefits for individuals.  It is based in the heart of Europe’s largest mental healthcare provider SLaM and its research partner, IoP KCL. The aim of the BRC is to benefit patients and clinicians through the pursuit of individualised mental health care.

At an event to launch the Award, Professor Paul Coldwell, University of the Arts London said: 'On behalf of the University of the Arts London, I am delighted that we have collaborated on this annual commission for the groundbreaking Nucleus project. Magda Kaggwa, the first recipient of the commission award, has set a high standard for others to follow, really engaging in the ideas of the centre and producing a beautiful series of prints which explore the idea of picturing thought.

'I would hope that this annual commission can serve as a catalyst for further collaborations between our institutions and through this challenge assumptions about our respective disciplines and look for ways of creatively working together in problem solving.'

Magda Kaggwa is currently studying an MA in Printmaking at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London. Magda has acquired experience working through a variety of different printmaking and book binding techniques and applies both traditional and innovative methods in her production.

Conceptually, the majority of Magda’s work aims to document and explore the physiological boundaries, capabilities and evolution of human anatomy and the relationship between the body and the mind; utilising real images of physical injury to explore the transient and deteriorative nature of the human body as well as more abstract issues such as pain and mental illness. Magda’s work can be extremely challenging to view, but remains compelling in its confrontation of scientific, psychological, cultural, philosophical and anthropological approaches to address the perception of the ‘self’.

The Award is the first in an arrangement for which will last five years, between BRC Nucleus (Kings College) and Graduate School CCW (Camberwell, Chelsea & Wimbledon Colleges of Art, University of the Arts London) where each year a competition is staged for MA students at CCW to submit proposals for an artwork or series of works to be housed in the BRC Nucleus research space.

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