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Press release: Royal College of Physicians Museum opens new exhibition: Unfamiliar

A new exhibition – Unfamiliar – is set to open at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Museum in Regent’s Park, London, later this month, offering photographic reinterpretations of every-day medical objects from the past.

Carefully chosen and curated by physician associate Debbie Jegede, and photographer Theo Deproost, these seemingly inert objects have been transformed through photography to show altered perspectives that challenge our understanding and impression of them. The photographs will be displayed alongside objects ranging from stethoscopes to snuff boxes, bringing together the worlds of medicine and art.

Audiences will be invited to approach the objects and images with a curious mind, to experience them in unexpected ways and reinterpret them through the lens of their own experiences.

Opening on 23 January 2023, Unfamiliar will be open to the public at the RCP in Regent’s Park and will be accompanied by an exciting programme of in-person and virtual events. A selection of works will also be available online.

Photographer and co-curator Theo Deproost said: "Unfamiliar has been a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable project to work on - I have photographed museum collections before, but the collaborative contributions from physician associate Debbie Jegede and senior curator Lowri Jones have added so much depth and clarity to the final outcome. The images honour the historical significance of the objects whilst also transporting them to a realm beyond any specific time period; a new, undefined space for the viewer to study and re-interpret the items, based on individual associations and experiences."

Physician associate and co-curator, Debbie Jegede, said: “It has been an eye-opening and exciting project working alongside Theo to bring together the clinical mind and creative skills. I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process from selecting the objects to observing the hard work that goes into taking the photos and the editing. Theo has captured the objects so that we can see them from a different viewpoint and I think the final results are quite impressive!”

Lowri Jones, senior curator of the Royal College of Physicians Museum, said: “This exhibition presents something very different for the RCP Museum. While it still has the RCP collections at its core, the exhibition itself will look strikingly unlike our other, recent exhibitions, showcasing vibrant, detailed new artworks developed from collection items that would not otherwise be on display. I’m very excited to show the results of what the project team has been working on - being able to bring together co-curators Debbie and Theo’s contrasting medical and artistic backgrounds has been fascinating and demonstrates how effective collaborations between the arts and sciences can be. I invite you to come and visit (online or in person); to look closely, approach familiar items differently, and experience the RCP collections in a whole new way.”

Notes to editors

To find out more about the exhibition please visit the RCP museum’s website.

Visit the exhibition at the Royal College of Physicians, St Andrew’s Place, Regent’s Park London NW1 4LE. The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and until 8pm on the first Thursday of the month as part of the RCP Museum Lates. No booking is required. Please check the museum visit us page to plan your visit.

For further information, interviews, advanced images from the exhibition or to register your interest in attending the exhibition launch event on 24 January (more info below), please contact RCP media manager Hannah Perlin at hannah.perlin@rcp.ac.uk or on 020 3075 1466.

About the exhibition launch event on 24 January

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Museum in Regent’s Park is hosting an opening night celebrating the launch of exhibition Unfamiliar on Tuesday 24 January 2023.

Drinks will be served from 6pm with speeches from Theo Deproost, Debbie Jegede and senior curator Lowri Jones at 6.30pm in the Dorchester Library.

Tickets cost £8. A discount is available for Art Pass holders.

All proceeds from this event will go to support the work of the RCP archive, heritage library and museum. 

The event is open to the public. 

Please contact RCP media manager Hannah Perlin at hannah.perlin@rcp.ac.uk if you'd like to attend.