HEALING: Vicky Higginson in conversation with Selina Hurley

Selina Hurley, Vicky Higginson

Vicky Higginson discusses her commission Coping Mechanisms, a set of glass healing devices that draw on folklore, mythology, and medical history to imagine ways to treat emotional ailments, with Selina Hurley Curator of Medicine at The Science Museum.

Using hand blown and cold worked techniques, Vicky Higginson assembles glass elements to create complex multi-layered sculptures. For Coping Mechanisms, she uses the aesthetics of historic medical instruments to create devices that we can use to heal ourselves, including: a pestle and mortar (to break up overwhelming thoughts), ear trumpets (to hear things left unsaid) and an anaesthetic inhaler (to numb grief).  

About the speakers  

Vicky Higginson is an Edinburgh-based artist working with hand blown and cold-worked glass who graduated with a MA in Glass from the University of Sunderland in 2011. She has exhibited work nationally including at the British Glass Biennale, Stourbridge, UK (2012, 2019) and Collect, London, UK (2019). Internationally she has exhibited in Ireland, Japan, the Czech Republic and the USA. Residencies at Edinburgh College of Art and North Lands Creative have been pivotal in the development and evolution of Higginson’s work, allowing her the freedom to experiment and change approach, developing personal style and themes. She was awarded the Student Award at the British Glass Biennale 2012, the Creative Scotland Emerging Artist Bursary in 2015, and received a scholarship to a masterclass at Corning Museum of Glass in 2018. vickyhigginson.com

Selina Hurley is Curator of Medicine at the Science Museum, where she led on the Medicine and Treatments gallery. Her work focuses on the intersection of health, disease, therapeutics and materia medica throughout the modern period. She was co-editor of, and contributor to, The Medicine Cabinet (Carlton, 2019), and contributor to Medicine: An Imperfect Science (Scala, 2019). She also sits on the advisory panel for Thalidomide Stories: An Oral History of Thalidomide Survivors, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. During her 14-year career at the Science Museum, she has worked on meteorites, clocks, climate science, psychology and almost everything in between. sciencemuseum.org.uk