Thackray Museum of Medicine opens new exhibition “Private Parts” to address stigma surrounding intimate healthcare and identity

31st January 2023

A new exhibition titled Private Parts is now open (from 21 Jan to 11 May) at the Thackray Museum of Medicine, tackling the taboo and stigma surrounding private parts and identity through a series of thought-provoking art pieces and interactive exhibits.


The exhibition aims to create a safe space for visitors to learn, discuss, and explore the nuances of these often-shrouded topics, with the goal of fostering a deeper understanding and acceptance of the diversity of human bodies and experiences.


Private Parts will feature stories by a diverse group of storytellers, actors, medical experts and artists in a series of installations that aims to create a comfortable space to talk about uncomfortable things.


“We believe that it is essential to break the silence around private parts and identity and create a space for open and honest dialogue,” said Edward Appleyard, CEO Thackray Museum of Medicine, “We hope that this exhibition will empower visitors to take control of their own bodies and identities, and to feel comfortable talking to medical professionals about their health.”


Private Parts is brought to life by illustrated characters representing Health, Pleasure and Identity, all created by award-winning multi disciplinary artist, Bobbi Rae. Motion films bringing the characters to life are by Hungry Sandwich Club.


The exhibition was brought to life through the stories and perspectives of seven co-curators and storytellers, centred around the themes of health, identity and pleasure. Shaun, whose story highlights the need for accessible and easy-to-read sexual health information for people with learning disabilities. Herfa, who shares her personal journey with fibroids and the challenges she faced along the way. Andi and Mike, both members of Skyline, which provides support services for those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in Leeds, discuss the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and the similarities between instruments used for medical examinations and those used for pleasure. Lynne, a urogynaecologist, explains the conditions she encounters and the available treatments. Sarah delves into the myths and misunderstandings surrounding sex and disability and shares her journey towards body positivity and launching #fatdisabledworthy. Pauline reflects on the joys and complexities of her life as a transwoman. Lastly, Ki, an actor, activist, and DJ who identifies as intersex trans non-binary, shares his experience of being intersex and the importance of community.


Private Parts will run from 21 January to 11 May at the Thackray Museum of Medicine. Entry is included with a museum ticket.


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