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08 November 2019

New exhibition explores gender through art and science

'GENDERS: Shaping and Breaking the Binary' will present a kaleidoscopic view of gender and its relationship with science, as well as with factors such as class, culture, race, age and sexuality.

A surreal digital artwork, with distorted plants and human heads and limbs forming a spider like image
Still of existing work by Danielle Braithwate-Shirley, one of the artists producing new work for the exhibition.

In Spring 2020, Science Gallery London is exploring personal perspectives on gender today through the lenses of art and science, in an exciting new free exhibition and events programme.

Running from 13 February to 10 May, the playful new season 'GENDERS: Shaping and Breaking the Binarywill bring together artists, social scientists, biologists, neuroscientists and activists, drawing on research from a variety of academic fields at King’s College London.

Neuroscience has shown that our brains are not static – they are plastic and change in response to environmental influences.

Clemens Kiecker, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Neurobiology

"The season draws on growing scientific consensus that the fixed categories of ‘female’ and ‘male’ and the separation between the ‘natural’ and social sciences are simultaneously becoming less distinct”, said curator, Helen Kaplinsky. “We invite visitors to question the inequalities and adaptations emerging in relation to gender, identity and society in this moment of flux."

“Neuroscience has shown that our brains are not static – they are plastic and change in response to environmental influences. There is therefore an ongoing connection between culture, which is shaped by behaviour, and brain biology. Drawing on these ideas, GENDERS will unravel some of the complex interactions that shape how we experience gender,” said Clemens Kiecker, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Neurobiology at King’s.

New Commissions

The exhibition will feature artworks and installations co-designed by artists, local LGBTQ young people and Science Gallery London’s Young Leaders – a group of 15-25-year olds who study at King’s or who live, work, or study in Southwark and Lambeth.

GENDERS includes new commissions by artists working with researchers from King’s, many of whom bring their own experiences to the fore:

  • Nina Wakeford will create a new video and performance piece exploring ideas of desire, sexuality and hormones, drawing on the repertoire of drag kings performing at London’s oldest queer pub, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Nina’s work will be informed by conversations about endocrinology with researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s;
  • Cibelle Cavalli Bastos will design a series of non-binary Instagram filters, immersing visitors in an augmented reality environment where identities can shift with a swipe;
  • Jenna Sutela and Elvia Wilk will create a new sound work challenging ideas about the ‘bonding hormone’ oxytocin. Co-commissioned with Liverpool Biennial, the work will reflect research on the effect of oxytocin in men by Yannis Paloyelis from the Centre for Neuroimaging Science at King’s;
  • Working with LGBTQ young people from Southwark, artist Danielle Braithwaite-Shirley will co-produce an interactive videogame-style animation exploring life as a trans person;
  • A newly created game will explore the stories of characters and societies faced with different approaches to legal gender/sex status. Devised by Sarah Jury and Behrooz 'Bez' Shahriari, the game responds to the research of Davina Cooper from the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's.


Other artists in GENDERS include Lucy Beech, Shu Lea Cheang, Phoebe Davies, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Adham Faramawy, Mary Maggic, Sadé Mica, Gaby Sahhar, Fannie Sosa and Soofiya.

Work in Progress, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos

'A creative and open approach'

Victoria Sin, artist and GENDERS season advisor said: “In my work as an artist, I am interested in the intersections of scientific and personal narratives around gender. By bringing together many voices from science and art this exhibition encourages a creative and open approach to the multitude of experiences of gender.”

“Research from King’s explores gender from a variety of perspectives across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences” said Anne Pollock, Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s and GENDERS season advisor. “As a feminist scholar in the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies, I am very interested in both how science and technology shape our social world, and in how our social world shapes science and technology. I hope the season will foster broad and varied conversations about gender today.”





Science Gallery London, King’s College London, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9GU.

Free entry: 13 February – 10 May 2020