The Heart of the Matter is an exhibition that brings together art and medicine to reflect on the human heart. Created by artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino the exhibition invites audiences to discover the extraordinary nature and complexity of the heart through 3D printing, digital animation, printed textiles, sound installation and sculpture.

The Heart of the Matter exhibition opened at the Great North Museum in Newcastle, 24 March – 6 May 2018, and toured to the Royal West of England Academy and Centrespace Gallery in Bristol, 14 July – 19 August. A selection of artworks was presented at the V&A in London, 22-23 September, as part of the London Design Festival, before the full show at Copeland Gallery in Peckham, 1-11 November 2018.

‘A beautiful, thoughtful, evocative representation of what it means to be a patient, a parent, a doctor, or scientist involved in treating people with heart disease’ The Lancet



A free programme of events and activities accompanied The Heart of the Matter exhibition, offering insights into the medicine, technology and participatory practice that underpins this unique arts and science collaboration. Events included exhibition tours, panel discussions and seminars, which took place within the exhibition itself or in collaboration with university and hospital partners.



In 2017 artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino brought together patients with heart conditions at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Bristol Heart Institute and the Adult Congenital & Paediatric Heart Unit of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, to look at the heart emotionally and metaphorically in workshops with scientists, artists, students and nurses.

Conversations and stories from these workshops have in turn inspired artworks that offer insight into the heart’s beauty, fragility and resilience, using scientific and artistic methods. Medical 3D printing and topographical maps describe cardiovascular anatomy; digital animation responds to medical imaging; and other abstracted stories are given form in printed textiles, sound installations and sculpture.


Who’s behind The Heart of the Matter?

The project was conceived by artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino, who started exploring the themes that underpin The Heart of the Matter during Sofie’s residency at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London (2015-16).

The Heart of the Matter was developed by Sofie and Giovanni with health psychologist Jo Wray. The work is produced by Susie Hall (GOSH Arts), Nicky Petto and Anna Ledgard in association with Artsadmin, and is supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Above&Beyond, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. With thanks to RapidformRCA and 3D Life Print.

Art & Curation – Sofie Layton

Sofie Layton is an artist with extensive experience of arts and participatory practice in a medical context. As lead artist she conceived the artistic vision of the project, which she has created alongside a fantastic team of artists and makers.

Bioengineering – Giovanni Biglino

Giovanni Biglino is a Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Bioinformatics and Medical Statistics at the Bristol Heart Institute and brings in expertise on biomedical engineering, including aspects of medical imaging and 3D printing technology that are integral to the project.

Health Psychology & Evaluation – Jo Wray

Jo Wray is an experienced Health Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow in the Cardiorespiratory Division at Great Ormond Street Hospital; she leads the project evaluation.

Producer – Nicky Petto

Nicky Petto is a producer and arts manager with experience of participatory arts practice; she is producing the exhibition.

Producer & Public Engagement – Anna Ledgard

Anna Ledgard is an associate producer with Artsadmin and an educator. She is executive producing the project and oversees aspects of public engagement.

Producer – Susie Hall

Susie Hall is the Head of GOSH Arts, Great Ormond Street Hospital’s arts programme, who are co-producing the project.

Medical imaging – Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is Divisional Co-Chair and Divisional Director for the West Division of Great Ormond Street Hospital and Head of Cardiovascular Imaging at the UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science.

Artworks © Sofie Layton

Design © David Caines

Photographs © Stephen King and GOSH Arts

Films © John Macedo

Website – APE


great ormond street hospital for children
university hospitals bristol
newcastle upon tyne hospitals
arts admin logo
Bristol_Heart_Institute Logo
3d life prints logo


Arts Council England Logo
blavatnik family foundation logo


For more information on The Heart of the Matter email sofie.layton@icloud.com