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The museum of friendship, remembrance and loss comes to Sussex

‘Take Me With You: the museum of friendship, remembrance and loss’ was set up at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School on the 18th February.

The creators of the event, poet and writer Clare Best, and film maker Tim Andrews met through the Ethics in Performance series at Bright- on and Sussex Medical centre three years ago.

The museum began with the question “If each of us could choose 21 things to take with us to the next world, what would these be?”

Over a period of almost three years, the pair emailed each other with their choices and reasons for choosing them. This correspondence led them into friendship.

The museum consisted of a collection of memorabilia from their past such as photographs, jewellery and childhood toys.

Each guest at the event received a booklet describing the objects and were invited to a talk with the pair.

Both Best and Andrews have faced life-changing health issues and their project speaks to anyone who has been forced to face their own mortality.

Best decided to undergo a voluntary mastectomy due to breast can- cer being a prominent disease in the women in her family.

1 in 8 women in the UK will devel- op breast cancer in their lifetime and it is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the UK.

She asked the question “how can we die happily without reflecting upon life?” Alongside this project, she has also set up a photography project called ‘self-progress about breasts’.

Andrews was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005 aged 54 and spoke about his experience of this, in particular the loss of control of his body through constant tremors.

He underwent life-threatening brain surgery and feels the project has been a “thrilling journey of discovery – a quest to confront my illness and survive”.

Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s. About 1 in every 500 has Parkinson’s and while it is most common in those over 50, younger people can develop it.

The museum not only raised awareness for these diseases, but also allowed students and members at Brighton and Sussex University to understand and confront the their own mortality, as well as that of their friends and family.

Jess Scholfield

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