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Communicating without words: the power of art as a tool of expression

news editor24 October 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Maria Black, retired UCL clinical linguist

The exhibition at the Lumen Gallery

What would you do if a stroke or head injury robbed you of your ability to communicate verbally? How would you preserve your sense of self and connection to the world if understanding language became unreliable, your speech disappeared, or your capacity to read and write shrank?

‘Communicating without words’, an innovative exhibition organised by the UCL Communication Clinic, offers us a unique opportunity to explore these questions through the art and experiences of artists with language and communication difficulties. The free exhibition takes place  from 14-29 October 2013 in The Lumen Gallery.

Although aphasia affects more than 367,000 people in the UK and aphasiology is a well-established multi-disciplinary research field, there is little public awareness of this condition, which can occur at any age.

The artworks in this exhibition, together with an excellent guide and video interviews with four of the artists, directly show us how we can find new means of communication, even when we are lost for words.

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A grey area: do the elderly hold the key to tackling non-communicable disease?

news editor6 December 2012

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.

Written by Amelia Tait of the UCL Institute for Global Health.

On Tuesday 4 December, the Attlee Suite in the Houses of Parliament was filled to the brim with more than 140 audience members, policy makers, and global health experts from around the world meeting to discuss the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases.

Professor Anthony Costello, Director of UCL’s Institute for Global health, chaired the debate and opened by remarking that the “wicked problem” of NCDs accounts for 63% of deaths worldwide.

Non-communicable or lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are medical conditions of a non-infectious nature, and – in Costello’s words – are “the biggest killer of people in the world”.

Learning from HIV?

The panel’s experts led a debate on the ways in which the NCD movement can learn from the precedents set by the HIV/AIDS movement in the 1980s.

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