Fossil Necklace

Katie Paterson explores the many dimensions of human evolution research

Fossil Necklace is a necklace with over 170 beads carved from fossils that chart the evolution of life on earth. It was created by artist Katie Paterson who explored the personal, cultural and political dimensions of health research with the Sanger Institute’s Chris Tyler-Smith and his Human evolution research group.

Fossil Necklace was exhibited at Kettle’s Yard Cambridge and Wellcome Collection London in 2013-14. Almost 11,000 people visited the exhibition in Cambridge, providing opportunities for conversations and discussion about genetics. The project showed how working with artists can open up research to different audiences.

This collaboration was part of Art in Global Health, a project by Wellcome Collection. The project supported the creation of artworks that could explore, in surprising and insightful ways, how global health research is conducted and how its findings are used. The project was declared groundbreaking, brave and inspiring by artists, research programmes and audiences alike.