Workhouse Men Augmented Reality Postcard
Workhouse Men Augmented Reality Postcard

Meeting Point

March, 2016 to February, 2017

Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds

Meeting Point was a year-long project led by contemporary art specialists Arts&Heritage.

Leading UK and international artists were partnered with nine museums in the North East and Yorkshire to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections. Funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, Meeting Point presents artworks in unexpected places and supports small and medium scale museums to commission artists, to create a piece of work in response to the venue.

The project aims to bring new visitors to the nine participating museums and position them as exciting places to see contemporary art.

The nine museums and artists taking part in Meeting Point :

Museums and Artists                                                                               

Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum, Northumberland- Ziad Jabero working with Baghdaddies

Dales Countryside Museum, Yorkshire-David Murphy

Durham Castle- Jo Coupe

Head Of Steam, Darlingto-Cath Campbell

Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar-Grennan and Sperandio

Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby-Pippa Hale

The Workhouse Museum, Ripon-Catherine Bertola

Shandy Hall, Yorkshire-Anne Vibeke Mou

Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds-Irene Brown

I am very excited to be working with the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, a museum of the history of medicine on the site of St James's University Hospital. The building is a Grade II listed building, the former Leeds Union Workhouse, built in 1858 to accommodate 784 paupers. By the end of the 19th century, the buildings had become largely used for medical care of the poor, rather than workhouse. During the First World War it was called the East Leeds War Hospital, caring for armed services personnel. It became the Thackray Medical Museum in 1997 after its founder, Paul Thackray.

I will be spending time at the Thackray, understanding the building and how it works in order to develop work that reflects upon the original use, most specifically its time a workhouse and a WW1 Hospital.  The project will be developed using a combination of local and national historic research; centered on the Thackeray building and its library and archives but also including visits to workhouses in Ripon and Southwell and to museums such as the Imperial War Museums, the Science Museum, the Royal London Hospital Museums and Archives. The research will gradually piece together some of the missing components of the Thackray’s past, creating a visual archive, used to help create the artworks.

Working with the museum’s collection and staff we will temporarily ‘restage’ some of spaces in the museum creating temporary interventions in in order to shoot video and photography for use in the creation of digital 3D viewers and augmented reality images.

The project will also include workshops and participatory events with Thackray staff, volunteers and the public.


Workhouse Women, Thackray Medical Museum from Irene Brown on Vimeo.

WW1 Surgery Thakray Medical Museum from Irene Brown on Vimeo.

Workhouse Men Thackray Medical Museum Postcard from Irene Brown on Vimeo.