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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


Sex and Sport

By Edmund Connolly, on 28 September 2012


The Petrie Museum’s Fit Bodies Exhibition on display in the Museum and North Cloisters is drawing to a close (in the Cloisters space) and, whilst I will be happy to get my trusty wooden lacrosse stick back, I am sad this exhibition is ending. Fit Bodies has included a variety of elements, from photographic competitions to theatrical performances in a light-hearted take on the notion of ‘fit’, an adjective accredited to sporting prowess as well as sexual appeal. However, one notion I realised only after giving a seminar on the exhibition, was this expectation of the elite to be attractive, in particular I think of the recent sportsmen and women who have proved their value through trial, tribulation, yet are still presented on that sordid platter of sexuality.


copyright telegraph.co.uk


Fit Bodies: Student Competition

By Debbie J Challis, on 11 June 2012

Impact by Graham Isted

A few months ago the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology ran a student competition asking for photographic and graphic entries on the theme of Fit Bodies: Statues, Athletics and Power. We asked for original responses to the idea

Greek Women resting at Olympia by Mara Gold

of ‘What is a Fit Body?’ These engaging responses are now on display in UCL North Cloisters (the main Wilkins Building) and the Petrie Museum as well as on this blog.

Rash by Arthur Kay

Do come and have a look at the entries in the flesh. The display in the Petrie Museum considers the importance of physical prowess in ancient Egypt and Greece, as well as the legacy of those ideas today, intercut with the student responses.

The exhibition of entries in the North Cloisters as accompanied by the viewpoints of various people that challenge cliches and assumptions about ‘What is a Fit Body?’; whether cosmetic surgery, the female body and body building, playing sport or the damaged body.

With thanks to all the students for their entries!

Untitled by Emma Wong


Modern Student in Ancient Olympian attire by Awat Rahimi

Romulus and Remus I by Sophie Blagden









Still Running by Antonia Clare Grant

Is this a Fit Body?

By Debbie J Challis, on 1 March 2012

What is a fit body? What do we mean by ‘fit’? Athletic? Attractive? Slim? Medical?

Statue on UCL front Portico

Copy of Greek Athlete on UCL Front Potico steps

UCL Museums are running a student competition. We would like to see some alternate views of physical fitness. The idea of what is an athletic body has changed over time; for example, compare photographs of athletes in 1900 to those of today. The role of fitness has also changed in society; the Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs had to prove their physical fitness every 30 years in Sed festival and, though today such physical prowess is not expected from our political leaders, arguably we prefer tall and slim Prime Ministers / Presidents in the Anglo world. This competition is looking for fun, thought-provoking and critical responses to this theme.

Up to 10 photographs or graphic works will be chosen by a panel of judges. They will be printed, mounted and framed and the winning students will receive them after the duration of the exhibition in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. The winner will receive £100 in Amazon Vouchers.

The exhibition will be accompanied by panels in the museum exploring ‘fit bodies’ and athletics ancient to modern. In addition poster panels may be put up in the North Cloisters display space. Duration of exhibition: Friday 1 June – Saturday 15 September 2012.

So don’t delay – enter the race!