Panel Event

19 June, 2022 16:00 – 17:00

Di Sherlock, Gita Ralleigh, William Viney,

panel link

Written Portraits is a collection of poems by Di Sherlock drawn from conversations with patients and staff she met during a residency at Charing Cross Hospital’s breast cancer services and Maggie’s West London.

Written Portraits is part of the ‘People Like You’ project on personalisation at Imperial College London, Goldsmiths University of London and Warwick University. Sherlock’s series of 21 poems explores similarities and preferences among people that can be compared to the ways cancers are viewed in personalised medicine.

This event will feature readings of the poems by professional actors. There will also be a panel discussion featuring writer Di Sherlock, breast cancer doctor and poet Gita Ralleigh, and researchers from the ‘People Like You’ project. They will discuss the poetry practice alongside experiences of working and living with cancer. The panel will invite comments and questions from the audience.

Panel Event

21 March, 2022 12:00 – 13:00

Di Sherlock, Sophie Day

panel link

Hear the stories of patients and staff at a typical London hospital, told through the written portraits of Di Sherlock

She shrugs off the memory
like a scratchy sweater
or an old skin,
says cancer is one more curve ball
Life’s thrown her way.

Written Portraits is a collection of poems by Di Sherlock drawn from conversations with patients and staff she met during a residency at Charing Cross Hospital and Maggie’s Centre West.

The poems are part of the ‘People Like You’ project which sees Di’s collaborators at Imperial College and Goldsmiths University of London investigating perceptions around personalised medicine. The series of 21 portraits explore the ways that preference, need, desire, pleasure and recognition serve as grounds for judging people to be alike.

At this World Poetry Day lunchtime event, the Great Exhibition Road Festival brings Di together with anthropologist Sophie Day to discuss the project and the impact this way of getting to know and profile individuals might inform future approaches to a more personalised approach to healthcare. The event will also feature readings of some of the poems.

This is event is hosted online and is free to attend. Sign up via the Eventbrite page.

The ‘People Like You’ research project is proud to launch the series, Figure to Ground: Dialogic Portraits by the artist Felicity Allen. In her residency for the project, Allen produced a series of portraits, curated in the on-line exhibition Rooms, and a film, Figure to Ground – a site losing its system. Her work draws attention to the relations between figure and ground – persons and contexts or environments, but also to practices of representation, especially those associated with portraiture: to relations between liking and likeness; and the temporalities of painting as one among other media.

A sitter once said, seeing the portrait series that she was a part of, that she felt she’d joined a family of portraits because of the shared look of them.


Register Here 


Programme, 18:30 – 20:00 BST

Introducing the project and the residency: Celia Lury

A commentary: Barry Schwabsky

Screening of Figure to Ground – a site losing its system

A walk through Rooms, Felicity Allen and Celia Lury

A discussion with two of the sitters for the dialogic portraits: Will Viney (writer) and Janice Cheddie (writer/researcher)



Felicity Allen is artist in residence with People Like You: Contemporary Figures of Personalisation, making her sixth series of Dialogic Portraits and the film Figure to Ground – a Site Losing its System. Her work is currently on show at the Royal Academy, Turner Contemporary, and in Margate Film Festival, and recently at the Ikon Gallery (A Very Special Place: Ikon in the 1990s). Publications include The Disoeuvre (Ma Bibliothèque, 2019) and Education (Documents of Contemporary Art, MIT/Whitechapel, 2011).

Celia Lury is a Professor in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, Warwick University and a Co-Investigator in the research project, People Like You: Contemporary Figures of Personalisation.

Barry Schwabsky is art critic for The Nation, co-editor of international reviews for Artforum and a poet. Recent publications include and The Observer Effect: On Contemporary Painting (Sternberg Press, 2020), as well as essays in Flash Art, Contemporary, Artforum, London Review of Books and Art in America. He curated the exhibition Tightrope Walk: Painted Images after Abstraction at the White Cube gallery (2015-16).

The People Like You Project has launched a website for their ‘Algorithmic Identities’ project.


In collaboration with researchers from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Algorithmic Identities aims to contribute to the social studies of data and algorithms using a ‘prototype’ recommendation app called ‘Big Sister.’


The aim of our project is to investigate how these algorithmic systems work and how they are understood by everyday users in Chile and the United Kingdom, where we’re based. What are recommendation systems? How do they work? How do they shape our online experiences? How do people feel about them? What does it feel like when they get us right? Or when they get us wrong?


We’re looking for participants who will use Big Sister for two weeks and allow us to interview them about the experience. We want to explore how people feel about their data being collected and used to make algorithmic recommendations and predictions. If you’re interested in getting involved, take a look at our call for participation here:

Workshop Event

10 June, 2021

‘People Like You’ hosted a small workshop exploring a new political arithmetic that puts data in dynamic relation through tracking, analysis, and feedback. Beginning with an overview from our project we then heard from scholars who have inspired our thinking. You can read more about the workshop in Scott Wark’s blog, and you can also see a Gallery of images from the two days.

Here’s a look at our programme:

Lecture Event

11 November, 2020 18:00 – 19:00

On Wednesday 11 November, we hosted the launch of Di Sherlock’s Written Portraits hosted by Sophie Day with Di Sherlock, and Kelly Gleason.

Di talked to people at Maggie’s West London and Charing Cross Hospital in London who are affected by, and working with, cancer. Her poetry practice involves writing a ‘portrait’ from these conversations. She then gives back a poem. The editing process goes to and fro between Di and the ‘sitter’ until they consider that the portrait is a likeness or resemblance that they also like. All the sitters agreed to share their poems more widely in this collection.

At the launch, we discussed Di’s practice, our wider project, and the experience of sitters. The video also includes the following readings from Written Portraits:

  • ‘Vital Conversation’ read by Clive Llewellyn
  • ‘Rewilding the Self’ from ‘The Art Class’  read by Lin Sagovsky
  • ‘The Three Musketeers’  read by Chris Barnes.
  • ‘Everyday Heroines’  read by Susan Aderin

Written Portraits is now available online, with audio and commentary.