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Seven Thousand Feet: artist socks it to diabetes in new exhibition

  • Exhibition at central library aims to raise awareness of diabetes
  • Show devised by artist Christine Wilcox-Baker as part of Manchester Science Festival
  • 7,000 pairs of socks hung from library ceiling in dramatic fashion

An exhibition containing 7,000 thousand socks is on display at Manchester Central Library to raise awareness about diabetes-related limb amputation.

Every year, more than 7,000 lower limbs are amputated in the UK due to diabetes and many of ther socks on display come with personalised messages from relatives of those who have diabetes.

A personalised message on one of the socks

Seven Thousand Feet was devised by artist Christine Wilcox-Baker as part of Manchester Science Festival and highlights the risk of amputation presented by ulcers that can go undetected due to nerve damage and poor circulation.

Created using socks donated by Diabetic UK support groups, the exhibition highlights the importance of an early diagnosis for Type 2 diabetes.

When we started this project there were 7,000 diabetes-related lower limb amputations per year. That number has now risen to 8,793. That’s 169 per week or 24 per day

The exhibition includes a variety of audio and visual art which express the difficulties of living with diabetes. At the heart of the display, lies a sculpture of the human pancreas - the organ which regulates blood sugar and produces insulin. 

Socking it to diabetes

Christine said: “While the message delivered by Seven Thousand Feet is deliberately stark, type 2 diabetes is often preventable through changes in lifestyle and diet.

"I am delighted to be helping raise awareness of the pioneering scientific work being done in Manchester to reduce the impact of diabetes.”

Other projects include international research into apps and pressure sensors capable of detecting diabetic foot ulcers, and a driving simulator that uses sensors on the accelerator pedal to judge whether diabetic patients’ driving is affected - all of which have been developed or clinically trialled by Manchester Metropolitan University.

As part of the exhibition, visitors can find out what medical research really means and leave their footprint for a giant mural. On 18 November there will be an opportunity to ‘Meet the Amputation Surgeon’.

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