Giant Game of Operation

Celebrating Women’s Health in Europe’s Oldest Surviving Operating Theatre

image of operation game in the old operating theatre in london. Birdseye view at an angle

Celebrating the Female Body and Blood Donation through a giant game of operation!

For this year's Emerge Festival, we collaborated with the Old Operating Theatre in London Bridge to celebrate other body types which were traditionally overlooked in medical teaching models. This specifically meant BAME women’s bodies.

The Old Operating Theatre, Europe’s oldest surviving medical theatre, was the perfect setting for this project as it only operated on female patients in the 1830s.

Oh, this reminds me - I was going to register to give blood the other day but I forgot. Thanks for reminding me, this was so fun!
— Rita, 26
group of people around operation game

Our giant, life-size version of the classic "Operation" board game uses the bodies of women of colour as the patients. This allowed us to question the "norm" in medical teaching in a fun and challenging way.

The backs of the pieces revealed more information about blood donation and the ways in which blood donations from women and BAME people played a special role in women’s health.

acrylic red and yellow shapes of a boob, heart and vagina
I’m embarrassed that I’m a medical student and I keep failing at this game!
— medical student, 19

Event Photos (use the arrows to have a browse)

It’s astonishing to see how much donated blood goes to blood loss after childbirth - it’s literally saving two lives at once!
— Victoria and Ori, 23


Illustration: Sophia Luu
Visual Concepts and Storyboarding: Mathilda Della Torre
Electronics: Minh Huynh
Woodwork: Minh Huynh and Sophia Luu
Research and Marketing: Rashmi Shankar
Photography: Michael Tigchelaar
Partners: Emerge Festival and the Old Operating Theatre. Special thanks to Svetlana and Monica.

Special Thanks to Josie at Machines Room and Peter from Solowood Recylcing for helping us sourcing materials and prop space! Read more from our making blog about how we made the game and the wonderful social enterprises involved.

Can we keep it?
— Monica, Events Manager, Old Operating Theatre