Instagram takeover

4 March 2016

Next week Wellcome Images are taking over our Instagram account to showcase a selection of this year’s winning images. As if one visual feast isn’t enough, we’ll be taking over the 52museums account at the same time. Hannah Brown and Russell Dornan tell us more.

Wellcome Images

The Wellcome Image Awards explore science and medicine through a combination of traditional artistic media and cutting-edge scientific imaging techniques. The 15th Wellcome Image Awards will be presented on 15 March 2016.

The power of a visual image to communicate a message is incredible.

Dr Alice Roberts, Wellcome Image Awards Judge

Next week Wellcome Images will be taking over Wellcome Collection’s Instagram account. We will be posting two of this year’s winning images each day from 7-11 March. Follow #2016WIA while we bring you the stories behind a selection of 2016’s winning images.

From hand-drawn illustrations to super-resolution microscopy, these award winning images bring to life a world of science often hidden to the naked eye.


“Wiring the human brain”. (Image credit: Alfred Anwander, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Wellcome Images)

First held in 1997, the Wellcome Image Awards are organised each year to celebrate the best in science-imaging making, recognising scientists, photographers and artists for the impact of their work, their technical excellence and ability to communicate scientific ideas.

This year, we are introducing the Julie Dorrington Award for outstanding photography in a clinical environment. The Julie Dorrington Award is named in honour of one of the founding members of our clinical collection and highlights the service that clinical photography provides for medical education and research.

Winners are selected every year by our expert panel of judges from a range of scientific and artistic backgrounds. To hear from our judges watch this video.

Both the overall winner and the Julie Dorrington winner will be announced at the Wellcome Image Awards Ceremony on 15 of March.

From 7 March you can take a look at all 20 winning images with the launch of the Wellcome Image Awards 2016 website where more information will be available on the stories behind the winning images and the creators.

Wellcome Image Awards exhibitions open simultaneously across the UK, Europe and Africa from 16 March. More information.


While Wellcome Collection’s Instagram is being run by Wellcome Images, we’ll be taking the opportunity to take the reigns of the 52museums account. The baton will be handed to us by the Natural History Museum, currently doing an amazing job of sharing all sorts of visual wonders from their collections and building.


52museums. Each week a different museum takes over the account.

The account is Mar Dixon‘s creation, inspired by Chris Webb’s 52quilters. Mar is keen to allow museums, of any size and in any place, to reach even wider audiences and support one another in doing so. Find out more on Mar’s blog.

The strength of 52museums comes from different museums taking the idea and making it their own each week. One of my favourite things about it are the many collaborations happening behind the scenes. Museums with similar collections have agreed to share weeks; in the case of Vienna, three museums shared one week to promote the city.

Mar Dixon, the brains behind 52museums

The project kicked off in January and runs all year (for 52 weeks, see?). Over 80 museums have signed up to take part, so some of the weeks see two or more museums collaborating on their takeover. We’re doing just that with Morbid Anatomy, a sort of kindred spirit of ours (and one of our favourite museums).

Our plan is to loosely theme each day (e.g. by colour or museum area) and post images accordingly, showcasing the similarities and differences between our collections and the variety of material covered by our overlapping subject areas.

We’re very excited to take part. We love using Instagram to share stuff with our audiences and enjoy working with other museums to do something a bit different. Whereas our MuseumInstaSwap project was about finding unexpected connections, we’re keen to find some fascinating overlaps with Morbid Anatomy.

So from Monday 7 March until 13 Sunday March you’ll find our Instagram posts over at 52Museums. Head over to see what the NHM and previous museums shared and keep an eye on it all year for some fascinating and varied museum insights.

Hannah is the Wellcome Images Administrator and Russell is the Web Editor at Wellcome Collection.