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In Your Face

What can you tell by looking at the expression on someone’s face? Do different people see faces in different ways? How—and why—do people change their faces?


In Your Face investigated the most photographed, examined, and expressive part of the human body through a pick-and-mix adventure of interactive demonstrations, displays and activities.

With the rise of social media and selfie culture, our faces have never been under greater scrutiny than they are today. We all look at hundreds of faces every day, and we get much more information from them than we realise. In Your Face invited you to think again about how you see the world—and how the world sees you.

What can you tell from an expression?

How do we learn to understand facial expressions? Why can you tell when someone’s faking an expression? And what would it be like to be unable to recognise any faces at all?

You had the chance to find out how babies learn what a face looks like, and get up close and personal with our super-sized brain sculpture. A gallery of ‘faces’ in the clouds showed images captured right here in Bradford. Our galleries also played host to the latest technology used to create images of suspected criminals.

What does your selfie say about you?

How have portraits and self-portraits evolved? What’s the relationship between old-fashioned studio portraits and the selfies of today?

Our selfie experiences made you see your own face differently—from unusual angles or through a wobbly lens. You could upload your favourites to Twitter or Instagram using #yourfaceisace to spot yourself on our online selfie wall!

How (and why) do people change their faces?

Can you choose your face? How do things like makeup and facial modifications affect the way you think about someone?

Our clever mirrors let you become someone else or split and mix your face with your friend’s! You could guess who’s who from an assortment of faces; see a gallery of manipulated images; think about ideas of beauty from around the world; and discover how film and TV made makeup into an art form with a selection of items from our collection.

October half term: Aardman Expression Lab

For October half term 2016, we joined forces with Aardman to celebrate the studio’s 40th anniversary. Some of Aardman’s best loved characters from the past four decades, including Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, popped up in the galleries as we revealed how animated creations communicate through facial expression—and how their faces are made.


The winners of our #yourfaceisace selfie competition have now been picked. A big thank you to all who took part—see all the fantastic entries!

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Part of the Science Museum Group