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Outwitting Cancer is the first public exhibition in the UK focusing on cancer research. 


The iterative design process for the exhibition involved creative exchanges with the curator; collaborators in film, sound, engineering; Crick’s exhibition team; and a patient advisory panel made of a group of people with lived experience of cancer. Working in tandem with the curatorial narrative, we aimed to embed a sense of openness and curiosity in the design. 


Spatially, the exhibition journey starts with Micro Cosmos, a filmic installation inspired by the molecular realms of the human body. Projection-mapped onto a bespoke cinema screen, the immersive film weaves together microscopy imagery from Crick’s laboratories and a newly commissioned soundscape from artist Mira Calix. In ‘Encounters’ area, three distinct themes – Evolution, Disruption and Resilience – unfold over eight specially commissioned films. These films capture conversations between Crick researchers and those with personal connections to cancer. A sculptural display and colour palette is designed for each theme, integrating films, objects and text. The exhibition concludes with a participatory installation made of coloured ribbons – a symbol of cancer research – where visitors can contribute their personal responses. 


The visual language is underpinned by the unpredictability of growth and change. Life-size human silhouettes transform into each other, complimented by abstract forms and planting in a fluid layout. This language extends to the changing fonts and graphic treatment. Colours play an important narrative role in signifying different cancer stages as well as contributing towards a rich and positive exhibition experience.

The Francis Crick Institute, London

curator  Yasmin Khan

exhibition design  Studio Prelude

film SDNA

music composition  Mira Calix

sound design  Sound Intermedia

structural engineer  Toby Mclean 

fabrication and install  MER

photography  Fiona Henson  

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