Wellcome Trust Centre For Mitochondrial Research

Bethany Allsopp

Beth Allsop is a Fine Art Undergraduate at Newcastle University, currently working mostly in mixed media.

My focus is centred on the use of collage together with painting, drawing and embroidery. It’s most important to me to remain experimental with materials and texture, in practice I do this by using collected and used materials and taking them out of their usual context. My experimentation with materials is also developing into works within installation and textiles.

As a person who has always had a keen interest in science, I found the opportunity to collaborate with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research exceptionally exciting. I have always wanted to combine my interests in science with my art practice and was very enthusiastic about potentially being able to use a key area of medical research as a point of influence and reflection. I’m intrigued by the relationship of how mitochondrial disease affects a person’s life and how the research being conducted on mitochondrial disease does, or will come to, affect patients too.

For this residency I wanted to create work which was reflective of patients varying experiences with mitochondrial disease. When I met with some patients of the Wellcome Trust centre, we spoke about the way in which the disease affected their everyday life. I have created work in response to the direct affect which the disease has on the physical activity of some of its sufferers. One patient’s comment about having to sit and take regular breaks in order to do their house work influenced me to create work which references this waiting and passing of time. This was a theme I found especially significant because there has also been a substantially long ten years of waiting for the Wellcome Trust Centre for the legalisation of ‘mitochondrial donation’. My 3D works are intended to fill a space almost in the same way pieces of furniture would and their shapes and patterns are drawn from microscopic cellular imagery.