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Symposium: Adapt / Modify



Saturday 30 September 2017


Our interaction with nature is full of adaptations and modifications, from how we manipulate the world around us to the evolutionary process itself. But how should we adapt to the environmental challenges we face today? Is there anything ‘natural’ that hasn’t already been modified by us? What modifications should we make, who will they benefit and who should be responsible for those changes?

Join the conversation - with perspectives from history, art, contemporary science and society - as we approach the end of our year-long exploration into our relationship with nature.

This is a paid event with lunch and refreshments included. Tickets available below.


  • 10.00 Welcome and opening remarks – Gabrielle Walker, author, broadcaster and speaker
  • 10.10 Food for thought – Jennifer Dungait, soil biogeochemist
  • 10.50 Homo sapiens versus Earth: a saga of healthy adaptation? – Peter Byass, epidemiologist
  • 11.30 Coffee break
  • 12.00 Adapt or die: clinging to hope for survival – David Kwarteng, conservationist
  • 12.40 Roundtable discussion
  • 13.10 Invisible Dust – Alice Sharp, curator 
  • 13.30 Lunch
  • 14.30 Climate change archaeology: building resilience from research into coastal wetlands – Robert Van de Noort, archaeologist
  • 15.10 Touching nature: modifications and adaptations in 20th-century Britain – Sophie Greenway, medical historian
  • 15.50 Coffee break
  • 16.20 The psychology of human-nature relationships – Birgitta Gatersleben, envrionmental psychologist
  • 17.00 Roundtable discussion and closing remarks
  • 17.30 Drinks reception

Throughout the day there will be a chance to view Coral Love Story Chapter#1 by Kasia Molga and Deep Above by Adam Chodzko. These artworks are brought to us by Invisible Dust who work with leading artists, creative technologists and scientists to produce thoughtful commissions that explore our environment.


Concessionary rates apply for people over 60, students, people on jobseekers allowance and disabled people. A companion ticket is also available free of charge for disabled visitors. After you buy your ticket, please email access@wellcomecollection.org or call 020 7611 2222 and we will supply the additional ticket.


We regret that we cannot refund tickets unless the event is cancelled