Human Race: Inside the History of Sports Medicine

22 September - 10 November 2012

Lamb Gallery, Tower Building, University of Dundee

Mon-Fri 09.30-20.30 Sat 09.30-16.30


Institute of Sports and Exercise, Old Hawkhill, University of Dundee

Mon-Fri 07.00-21.30 Sat-Sun 08.30-17.30

Human Race exhibition poster image

An official part of the Cultural Olympiad, this major exhibition explores the body as it prepares for, and competes in, sport. It highlights for the first time some of the pioneering developments in medical imaging, surgery and sports training that have taken place over the last 200 years, and their subsequent impact on the development of Sports and Exercise Medicine as we know it today. Over 15 different museums, individuals and institutions from across Scotland have contributed objects to the exhibition, many of which are being seen by the public for the first time.The displays include several Dundee pioneers including radiologist George Pirie and knee surgeon Ian Smillie.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive events campaign featuring talks, workshops and other activities - details of these are given below.


Human Race has been created by the Scotland & Medicine partnership.

Map of the campus showing the venues for the Human Race exhibition



Events Programme

Opening Event

Friday 21 September, 5.30-7pm – Lamb Gallery, Tower Building 

The exhibition will be formally opened by local Olympic torch-bearer Ronnie McIntosh


Special Events

D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building

Monday 24 September, 5.30pm

Scottish Ballet

The Physicality of Dance

This illustrated talk by education staff from Scottish Ballet will examine the physicality of dance in the context of the life of a professional ballet dancer. Find out about their training, technique, diet, and the prevention and treatment of injuries through physiotherapy, massage, and Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis exercise systems.

Chamber East, Panmure Street 

Wednesday 24 October, 7.30pm

Beverley Hood


glitching is a digital dance performance led by artist Beverley Hood and performed by Tony Mills, Hannah Seignior and Felicity Beveridge, with a soundtrack composed by Martin Parker. The performance is inspired by the glitches and malfunctions of characters in sports and action computer games. After the performance the audience will be invited to step into the digital shoes of the dancers and follow the movements of the on-screen dance troupe. This event must be booked.

Generator Projects, Mid Wynd Industrial Estate

Saturday 10 November, 7 for 7.30pm

Catherine Street, with JL Williams, Martin Parker and Owen Green


This site-specific event will be an immersive experience featuring a new film by artist Catherine Street, one of the specially commissioned artists whose work features in the exhibition. The film will be followed by spoken word performances by poet JL Williams and Catherine Street, as well as live performances by composers and improvisers Martin Parker and Owen Green. The film derives its sound and image from the exhausted body of the artist. Meanwhile writings by Street and Williams allude to the sensual, experiential world of human perception alongside a theoretical conception of time and space as described by mathematics. Green and Parker’s live performances build in intensity over time and the listener is made very much aware of the physical nature of sound as it is created by bodies interacting in space.


Evening Lectures

6-7pm – D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building


Wednesday 26th September – Dr James Robson – Head of Medical Services / National Team Doctor for the SRU 

The role of the International Rugby Team Doctor – Tales of the Unexpected

An insight into the rigours, highs and lows of a touring medic.


Wednesday 3rd October - Vicky Strange – General Manager, Sports Competition, Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

An insight in to the planning of the biggest sporting event to be held inScotlandand some of the legacy aspirations of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee.


Wednesday 24th October – Professor Rami Abboud  - Head of Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery / Director of Institute of Motion Analysis and Research, University of Dundee.

Technology, Biomechanics and Humans!

How reliant are we now on technology in assessment and enhancing performance? Is technology needed or not? Come along to find out!

[nb - this lecture will finish in time to allow people to attend the glitching event at 7.30pm]


Wednesday 31st October – Mr W A Hadden – Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Perth Royal Infirmary 

Ian Smillie - A small giant!

Based in Dundee, Professor Smillie was one of the first super-specialists in Orthopaedic Surgery and far ahead of his time. As this lecture will show, his contributions went far beyond his expertise in knee surgery.


Lunchtime Talks

12:45-1:15pm – Room T4, Lamb Gallery, Tower Building


Friday 12th October – Dr Anna Campbell – Lecturer in Sports Biomedicine, University of Dundee (and expert in Cancer and Exercise)

Exercise is Medicine – It’s Time to Prescribe It! 

This talk will tell you why being active is so important for the prevention and treatment of many different chronic conditions and discuss exercise as the new wonder drug.


Friday 19th October – Brian Ewing – Director of Institute of Sport and Exercise, University of Dundee (and sports scientist for Scotland U21 football squad)

The Beautiful Game - The Appliance of Science in Football

Learn about how Football has embraced Sports Science in its efforts to improve both individual and team performance.


Friday 2nd November – Dr Graham Lowe – Curator of the Tayside Medical History Museum, University of Dundee / NHS Tayside

X-Rays - the Dundee Connection

The discovery of X-rays in 1895 was a momentous event in the history of medicine. This talk will chart the early application of this ‘New Photography’ and detail Dundee’s contribution, in particular that of local hero Dr George Pirie.

[please note that due to illness, this talk will be given by Dr Roddy Cameron, Radiology, Ninewells]


Friday 9th November [Dundee Science Festival event]– Dr Peter Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Physiology, University of Dundee. 

John Scott Haldane: Pioneering Experimental Physiologist

Find out about the extraordinary career of J S Haldane (1860-1936), who pushed his own body to its limits in his ground-breaking experiments.


Workshops and other Events


As well these events for adults there will be a programme of schools workshops – please contact for details. Other events are currently being planned - please check back here soon for more information.

 All events are free and there is no need to book - just come along and enjoy!

Skip to top ↑