Science Gallery exhibition tours to ArtScience Museum in Singapore

A man stands in front of bright art works
Dr Ryan Jefferies at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore where Science Gallery Melbourne's inaugural season is being presented. Image: University of Melbourne

Following a celebrated local season, Science Gallery Melbourne’s inaugural exhibition has launched at the prestigious ArtScience Museum in Singapore.

This season of the program is co-curated with ArtScience Museum and will present more than 20 interactive exhibits and large-scale installations alongside research collaborations.

The exhibition challenges visitors to reflect on, question and empathise with the essence of humanity, and aims to confront societal biases and stereotypes around mental health.

MENTAL opened to the public at the University of Melbourne’s Science Gallery Melbourne in January 2022 and attracted over 30,000 visitors, the majority aged under 35.

Science Gallery Melbourne Director Dr Ryan Jefferies said there had never been a more important time to explore mental health, especially for young people.

“Colliding science and art, MENTAL is an exciting collaboration between ArtScience Museum and Science Gallery at the University of Melbourne that provides the opportunity to connect new audiences through lived experiences of mental health, technology and creativity,” Dr Jefferies said.

“The exhibition highlights that we are all on our own mental health journey through life, just not all journeys are equal.”

Featured in the exhibition is Wheel (2021), a collaboration between renowned artist Hiromi Tango and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health researcher Dr Emma Burrows.

The work examines how colour, playful spaces and exercise can influence mood, as well as how social rewards affect one’s commitment to exercise.

A giant, brightly coloured wheel and wheelchair-accessible exercise machine are connected to a collective trip odometer that counts the distance clocked by visitors over the exhibition run. Ultimately, the installation explores the commitment to staying motivated through this ‘mood medicine’.

Science Gallery Melbourne is the first and only Australian node in the internationally acclaimed Science Gallery Network, a series of museums embedded in universities around the world, with proven success at engaging 15- to 25-year-olds in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and pathways.

The gallery is part of the University’s unique offering of museums, galleries and collections which aim to connect, engage and inspire our student and broader communities.

A key objective is the presentation of immersive and experimental exhibitions that blend scientific theory and new technologies with conceptual themes and creativity.

The opening in Singapore coincides with a local event celebrating the successful close of the University of Melbourne’s fundraising and engagement campaign ‘Believe’.

Believe commenced in 2008 and launched publicly in 2013. Since then, nearly 30,000 donors have made more than 73,000 individual gifts to the University, its colleges and affiliates.

One such gift was a generous $4 million donation by Peter and Ruth McMullin, which supported the development of Science Gallery Melbourne.

Over the course of the campaign, donors contributed more than AUD$1 billion and the University engaged more than 100,000 alumni, with more than 8,000 of them mentoring over 16,000 students.

Vice-President (Advancement) Nick Blinco said the Singapore event was an opportunity to personally thank local donors and alumni for their incredible support and engagement throughout the campaign.

“Singapore is home to one of the largest University of Melbourne alumni populations outside of Australia, and many of these 7000 plus people were great supporters throughout Believe,” Mr Blinco said.

“In fact, during Believe, 16 per cent of our donor population outside of Australia were from Singapore, second only to the United States.

"We are hosting this event to thank these generous individuals for their time and commitment to making a difference to the world through the University of Melbourne. Along with the opening of MENTAL in Singapore, this event is also a fantastic opportunity for our Singaporean community to maintain and enhance their connection to Melbourne.”