The Monash Sensory Science Exhibition – Autoimmunity is a free sensory exhibition curated specifically for blind, low-vision and diverse needs audiences of all ages and science literacies.

Happening on Friday June 30, participants are invited to come along and explore eight autoimmune diseases through multi-sensory, multi-modal artworks and tactile displays. From handcrafted immune cells made of clay, food, paper and fabrics, to technologies and interactive displays exploring autoimmune processes, participants will learn about the ways in which the body mistakenly attacks its own organs and tissues, resulting in health conditions such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and celiac disease.

Held in the award-winning Learning and Teaching Building at Monash University, participants will first hear from Professor Nicole La Gruta, a Monash T cell immunology expert, before choosing to attend four sessions exploring four of eight diseases in depth.  Supported by volunteers, participants will learn through handling artworks, touching tactile displays and hearing from research experts.

First held in 2018, the exhibition is an initiative of the Rossjohn Laboratory, a research group pursuing the advancement of knowledge of innate and adaptive immunity. Dr Erica Tandori, a legally blind artist, researcher and academic and the artist-in-residence in the Rossjohn Laboratory, will lead the development of the artworks and displays.

Dr Tandori said that the exhibition provided a unique opportunity for participants to explore science through the power of art.

“Scientists already use art to make medical concepts tangible and tactile without even realising, such as when they create 3D models of organs or cells,” she said.

“In our exhibition, we’re celebrating and highlighting the unique way in which art can make science accessible to people with different learning needs, and especially to blind and low vision audiences who face multiple barriers to participation. Everybody has a right to know how their bodies work, and to enjoy the opportunity to learn about science in ways that suit their needs.”

Interactive multisensory science books by Dr Tandori and data sonifications by Swinburne University of Technology’s Dr Stuart Favilla as well as technology displays by the newly-formed Monash Assistive Technologies and Society (MATS) team will also be available to experience.

Event details: Monash Sensory Science Exhibition – Autoimmunity

Location: Monash University Learning and Teaching Building, 19 Ancora Imparo Way, Clayton Campus

Date: Friday 30 June 2023

Time: 9am–2pm, arrive at 8:45am for registration.

Tickets: via Eventbrite

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