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Looking back (and forward) at student volunteering

news editor6 February 2012

UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit is marking a decade of facilitating student volunteering with a photographic exhibition in the South Cloisters.

The VSU has also produced a document – Student Volunteering: UCL’s Commitment – that outlines the university’s ongoing dedication to voluntary services. Ben Davies was at the joint launch event on 30 January.

Twenty-two photographs currently line the walls of UCL’s South Cloisters. Taken over 10 years, they show a variety of seemingly mundane activities: individuals gardening, having a cup of tea and a conversation, or preparing some children for a game of netball.

The scenes depicted are of the everyday, but they are also hugely important, for they are scenes of the minutiae that many of us take for granted in our lives, and without which we would be lost: company, conversation, welcoming surroundings and fun.

For the past 10 years, UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit has harnessed and encouraged the energy of the university’s students in helping to provide these often underappreciated necessities to those, both in the local community and further afield, who cannot access them easily.

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The Body in Pieces

David R Shanks24 October 2011

‘The Body in Pieces’ selectively displays fragments from the UCL Great Ormond Street Hospital archive. Occupying a gatehouse building and part of the North Cloisters, this exhibition renders visible a curious collection of artefacts as they become objects of broad academic significance, after a former life at the Hospital’s research facilities, the UCL Institute of Child Health.

Most striking are the plaster casts that fill the windows of the ‘North Lodge’, visible to passers-by on Gower Street. This assortment of disembodied limbs and torsos document a variety of bone conditions found in young patients. Beautifully executed around 1870, all troubled from within and sparsely labelled, they leave huge scope for fresh interpretation.

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