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Press release

  • 11 September 2008

Denis Healey's life through the lens

A family snap from the exhibition, Denis Healey, Furniture of the

A family snap from the exhibition, 'Denis Healey, Furniture of the Mind'

Photographs by Lord Healey, former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer and an accomplished photographer, will form part of an interactive multimedia exhibition at the University of Sussex this autumn.

Curated by students, "Denis Healey: Furniture of the Mind" features more than 30 original and digitised portraits of well-known political figures of his era, such as a young Condoleeza Rice and former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir, as well as interviews with Lord Healey and his wife, Edna. The exhibition will be held in the University's state-of-the-art teaching and learning space, InQbate and open to the public from October 11-17.

Denis Healey has taken photographs since he received a Brownie 2A box camera at the age of 11. Many of his most vibrant photographs are from his travels and show his interest in capturing images of people in their own environments and landscapes. His love for his family and of the countryside around his Sussex home is also in evidence.

Art historian Professor David Alan Mellor, who has co-ordinated the exhibition, says it presents a unique record of political life from 1957 through to recent times, but it also demonstrates the University's strength in studying photography in its cultural and historical context. "Here is a terrific example of innovative inter-disciplinarity using new technologies - one of the key things Sussex does best of all - with students from different disciplines joining together and developing a show using new techniques in display: really running with a brilliant idea."

The students involved in curating the exhibition are: Art History undergraduates Charlie Sluter, Luska Mengham and Carol Dowson; Media Practice and Theory undegraduates

Cherry Amos, Lucy Lyon, Charlotte Charlton and Peter Harte; History undergraduate Eleanor Probyn Gibbs.

Luska, about to enter her final year, says: "This has been a brilliant experience. Lord Healey is so enthusiastic - not just about photography, but also about poetry, music and art. We chose the title of the exhibition, 'Furniture of the Mind,' quoted from one of his books, to embody the 'compartments' and the extent of his eclectic interests and passions."

As well as Lord Healey's personal works, the students will be using some of the well-known public images of him, including footage of his appearance on This is Your Life, and the bushy-eyebrowed puppet version of him that appeared in the television satirical comedy Spitting Image.

The exhibition will be used by a variety of students and tutors from different disciplines and departments. Some will encounter it as a part of their formal teaching; others will take part in interdisciplinary seminars arranged during the week. The majority of these events will be open to the public. For further details and opening hours, visit

Notes for editors

For images, interviews and more information, please contact the University of Sussex Press Officers, Jacqui Bealing and Maggie Clune, Tel: 01273 678888, Email:


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