UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS (2020) is a project bringing together patient ambassadors for Blood Cancer UK and stem cell researchers working at the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre. Through a series of stop-motion animation workshops held via Zoom, participants developed hand-cut animation sequences exploring their experiences of ‘the unknown’ in relation to living with blood cancer, the challenges of research and the global uncertainties of Covid-19. Animation materials included paper, velvet and issues of National Geographic published in 1960, the year Blood Cancer UK officially became a charity.
Commissioned by the Wellcome - MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute as part of its Public Engagement programme, project outcomes include an animated film featuring participants’ stop-motion sequences (Futuramic Unknown, 2020) and an installation for the Jeffery Cheah Biomedical Center at Cambridge Biomedical Campus (The Night the Mountains Moved, 2020).
Unknown Unknowns Session 1
Participants explored the theme 'future unknowns' and used a self-selected personal object to create individual animation sequences.
Unknown Unknowns Session 2
Working with the theme 'transformation', participants created cut-out animation pieces from a selection of velvet paper and fabric, which they then animated into individual sequences.
Unknown Unknowns Session 3
Working with the theme 'dwelling in the unknowns', participants created hand-cut collages, which they then animated. For their source material, they were each given a single issue of National Geographic from 1960 - the same year that Blood Cancer UK officially became a charity.
Unknown Unknowns Session 4
Responding to an extended conversation about the symbiotic relationship between cancer treatment, research funding and the possibilities of charitable action, participants created animation storyboards to honour the 60th anniversary of Blood Cancer UK.
Unknown Unknowns Session 5
Working from their storyboards and using a mix of materials from previous sessions, participants created 'Because...' animation sequences that include personal voice-over messages in support of Blood Cancer UK.