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Curating Happiness

  • Free
  • Discussion
  • British Sign Language
  • Speech-to-text
  • Audio described

Watch a recording of curators Laurie Britton Newell and George Vasey as they discuss the making and remaking of ‘Joy’ and ‘Tranquillity’, two exhibitions that form part of the ‘On Happiness’ season.

In this honest and illuminating online event, the curators reflect on what they have learned about the elusive subject of happiness as part of this journey and how they hope the themes of the exhibits will resonate with visitors.  

Laurie and George audio-describe a short walk-through film of the ‘Joy’ and ‘Tranquillity’ exhibitions. They then discuss their experiences of pausing and starting the exhibition work in response to the cultural and political urgencies surfaced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The speakers respond to audience questions during the final 20 minutes.  

‘Joy’ and ‘Tranquillity’ are open 15 July 2021–9 January 2022.



Need to know

British Sign Language

This event is British Sign Language interpreted. An interpreter will be embedded in the event stream/visible to all attendees and will interpret what is discussed into BSL for d/Deaf, hard of hearing and deafened attendees.


This online event will be live-transcribed, which may be useful for people who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or neurodivergent. The captions will be embedded in the event video window online. Ticketholders for the livestream will also receive a link to view the captions in a separate window.

Audio described

The host and speakers will describe themselves and key visual elements they refer to. There will not be a separate audio description track.

For more information, please visit our Accessibility page. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 0 2 0. 7 6 1 1. 2 2 2 2

Our event terms and conditions

About your speakers

Laurie Britton Newell

Laurie Britton Newell is a senior curator at Wellcome Collection and co-curator of the ‘Joy’ and ‘Tranquillity’ exhibitions, part of the season ‘On Happiness’ (2021), and she curated the exhibition ‘Somewhere in Between’ (2018). She previously ran a rural curatorial platform in the USA and taught at the University of Colorado. Prior to that she worked as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where she curated critically acclaimed exhibitions such as ‘Memory Palace’ (2013), ‘Make Lab’ (2011), ‘1:1: Architects Build Small Spaces’ (2010) and ‘Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft’ (2008). She writes about contemporary creative practice for books, magazines and newspapers.

George Vasey


George Vasey is a curator currently working on projects with Wellcome Collection and Leeds Art Gallery. He has curated exhibitions and projects in public, academic and commercial contexts. He has previously worked as a curator at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland and as a curatorial fellow at Newcastle University. In 2017 he co-curated the Turner Prize. His writing has been published in Art Monthly, Art Review, Burlington Contemporary, Frieze and Mousse, as well as numerous artists’ catalogues and books. He regularly teaches and has mentored artists, writers and curators for various organisations.