Rebecca Beinart: From Plants to Pills workshops
Wednesday 6 & Saturday 9 June 2018

Join artist Rebecca Beinart for two hands-on workshops exploring plant ingredients used by Boots the Chemist to develop and produce medicines at their factories in Nottingham. Take a closer look at the ‘exotic’ ingredients Boots were importing during the era of British Empire, find connections between every-day drugs, plants, colonialism and ownership of knowledge, and explore recipes and records from the archive.

Gin, Tonic and Biopiracy
Wednesday 6 June, 18:00—21:00
Book a place for this free workshop here…

A workshop to make your own tonic water using Cinchona bark, the quinine-rich plant that gives tonic its bitter flavour. We’ll try out recipes together, share a gin and tonic, and trace the story of quinine. Originally utilised by the indigenous Quechua people of South America, the bark of the Cinchona tree connects the invasion of these lands to expanding European colonialism, disease, biopiracy and pharmaceuticals.

Yams, Hormones and Elephants Foot
Saturday 9 June, 14:00—17:00

Book a place for this free workshop here…

This workshop will delve into the development of Cortisone in the 1950s, when Boots established a purpose-built factory in Beeston to produce the drug from Elephants Foot, a South African yam. During these early years of steroid drug development, Cortisone was hailed as a miracle cure. During the workshop we’ll cook and eat yam together and trace the story of Boots bioprospecting for steroid-rich plants in South Africa, and the impact of Cortisone on the development of medicine.

These workshops are part of Rebecca Beinart’s ‘Urban Antibodies’ project and are supported by the University of Nottingham as part of Dr Anna Greenwood’s research into the international history of Boots for the Department of History, University of Nottingham.

Image credit: Boots Archive


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