Projects | Association of Anaesthetists

Lost in the Ether: Missing Perspectives




Lost in the Ether: Missing Perspectives within Anaesthesia

In February 2021, the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre was awarded £9,000 from the Association of Independent Museums Tackling Inequality Grant Award supported by Arts Council England for the project, Lost in the Ether: Missing Perspectives within Anaesthesia.

This important and necessary project seeks to: 

  • Confront attitudes towards anaesthetists because of their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality or health conditions or impairments 
  • Readdress the balance of stories the Anaesthesia Museum tells 
  • Programme events which appeal to a more diverse audience

Through the Lost in the Ether project, the Anaesthesia Museum will: 

  • Diversify the stories it tells through collecting oral histories from anaesthetists who identify with one or more of the protected characteristics identified in the Equality Act 2010. These may be either positive or negative experiences or reflections.
  • Identify missing stories and gaps within the collection so we can celebrate the important contributions made by anaesthetists from discriminated groups. 
  • Establish an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Panel to help the museum promote EDI through its collections and public engagement activities. The panel will devise a programme of activity for 2022/23 which tackles this subject openly and transparently, and provides opportunities for frank and open discussions and debates. 
  • Produce an Equality Action Plan with SMART objectives 
  • Collate and archive research material to establish a record of changing attitudes towards race, disability and gender within the specialty of anaesthesia (through new research and working with partners [e.g. Royal College of Anaesthetists]). 
  • Recruit an EDI Consultant


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Norma Gregory was recruited on a six month basis as the museum’s EDI Consultant. One training session was provided to staff, and the Heritage Team and Heritage Volunteers received two Embedding Inclusive Practice in Museums training sessions.

Norma also produced a report including an action plan for the museum. Over the next year the heritage team will deliver on the actions, all of which will ensure that we improve our practices and measure and share our successes. This will have an impact on our work across community engagement, recruitment and workforce, marketing/communications and publicity, staff and volunteer learning and development and the collections.

Access the presentations, sector reports and suggested reading lists

EDI Advisory Group

The group met four times over the course of five months. The members offered valuable insights and helped develop more inclusive programming and interpretation ideas. We are delighted the group have agreed to continue to meet beyond this project to support the Heritage Centre in becoming more inclusive and accessible.

Events programme

Across the year the heritage team have programmed events devised by the advisory group. The spring/summer events programme is now live, and includes two events which tackle inclusivity, equality and diversity themes. The autumn/winter programme will be released in July.

Check out the heritage events page to book.

Oral Histories

Oral historian Clare Gilliam carried out eight interviews with female anaesthetists, those from ethnically diverse communities, the LGBTQI+ community and those living with health conditions or impairments. These interviews are now available to listen to on our oral history webpage.

Student placement  - Westminster Kingsway College

In February 2022, the heritage team hosted a group of seven students (aged 17-19) for their work placement. The students worked on a re-interpretation and re-labelling project to diversify the narratives and broaden representation in the museum. The content produced will soon be on display in the museum, so come and visit to discover more about Seishu Hanaoka, Enid Johnson, Louisa Aldrich-Blake, curare, and early herbal anaesthetic preparations.

Next steps

If you would like to join the advisory group, please get in touch at [email protected]

If you know of any research papers, reports, statistics or articles relating to EDI within the profession then do get in touch at [email protected].

If you are interested in sharing your experiences in an oral history interview, please get in touch at [email protected].