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Scotland to Give Public Access to the First Interactive Talking Bronze Statue This Week

JJR Macleod is the insulin pioneer that history and the world forgot. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring wider recognition to this unsung medical hero from Scotland.”

— John Otto, Founder & Chairman of the JJR Macleod Memorial Statue Society

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND, October 11, 2023 / — Scotland is set to make history as it prepares to unveil its very first “storytelling statue” noon Thursday 12th of October, a unique tribute to physiologist John James Rickard Macleod. The interactive memorial opens to the public in Aberdeen’s Duthie Park, just 10 days ahead of the 100th anniversary of Macleod’s Nobel Prize for his contribution to the discovery of insulin. The interactive statue is not only a novel addition to Scotland’s cultural landscape but also a significant correction to history.

Though he shared the Nobel Prize with Frederick Banting, Macleod’s particular contributions were largely overlooked, criticized, and sometimes even challenged throughout his lifetime. This historical injustice is now being rectified by the installation of the new interactive memorial, which honors Macleod’s key role in the life-changing discovery that transformed type 1 diabetes from a death sentence to a manageable condition.

Visitors to the memorial site can use their smartphones to scan a QR code that instantly connects to a web app where they receive a simulated phone call from Professor Macleod. Once connected through the app, the statue comes to life, speaking in an honest tone and Aberdonean accent, revealing his inner thoughts. Screenwriter and film producer, Kimberlie Hamilton wrote the monologue for Macleod, which is voiced by Aberdeen-born actor, David Rintoul, who played the mad king in Game of Thrones. Rintoul explains Macleod’s journey and critical role in the discovery of insulin, speaking as Macleod himself. The app also features a short film showing behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the bronze statue.

John Otto, Founder & Chairman of the JJR Macleod Memorial Statue Society, was born and raised in Aberdeen and has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years. He commissioned acclaimed sculptor John McKenna to create a life-size bronze statue of Macleod seated upon a bronze park bench.
“JJR Macleod is the insulin pioneer that history and the world forgot,” John Otto says. “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring wider recognition to this unsung medical hero from Scotland.”

Actor David Rintoul said, “I am delighted to be a part of the JJ MacLeod Memorial project and to lend the statue a voice delivered in a genuine Aberdeen accent. Like Macleod, both my father and my uncle were University of Aberdeen medical graduates, so having this opportunity to tell the Professor’s story feels especially personal and meaningful.”

Talking Statues™ founder and filmmaker David Peter Fox has created similar projects globally since 2013. The JJR Macleod Memorial in Aberdeen will be the first statue in Scotland to feature the technology. In his words, “I was immediately interested when I got the call from Aberdeen. We have had diabetes in my family for 3 generations. My grandfather, my father, and my brother all had diabetes. In this way, the word insulin was a word that we learned from childhood and quickly understood the vital importance of; it is important to truly recognize the role of JJR Macleod.”

The statue will have its own place, “Macleod’s Corner”, overlooking Duthie Park’s common Green. Macleod’s Corner is within walking distance of the Nobel Laureate’s final resting place in nearby Allenvale Cemetery. Don’t miss the official unveiling of Scotland’s first storytelling statue as local officials, residents, visitors, and members of the press celebrate the legacy of JJR Macleod, the man organizers hope will be credited as “the Scottish hero who changed the course of medical history.” For more information about the J.J.R. Macleod Memorial, please visit

Get the latest pictures of the event and statue reveal here.

About Talking Statues
Talking Statues is a project created in Copenhagen in 2013 by David Peter Fox. A statue of Hans Christian Andersen became the first talking statue in the world. Now, there are Talking Statues in Helsinki, New York, London, San Diego, Chicago, Dublin, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Manchester, Leeds, Copenhagen, Vilnius, and others.

For further details contact Eleonora Pakhmurskaia on + 45 25342393 or visit

Eleonora Pakhmurskaia
Talking Statues
+45 25 34 23 93
email us here

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