Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Project Lead: Philip Gould  (Staff project funded in Round 1)

Antimicrobial resistance is arguably the most serious global threat to human health in the 21st Century. Medicine has given more of us the privilege of, and indeed the disadvantages of, old age: age-onset diseases such as cancer, dementia and the need for surgical interventions. However, a post-antibiotic era would reduce our chances of even growing old. Welcome back to an age where minor infections could prove fatal!

Transmission is an invited gathering, showing and sharing insights into infection. An innovative mix of lecture, practical demonstration and dance, asking audiences to better understand the role of science in researching and combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We will highlight how the inappropriate use of antibiotics over decades, especially the ineffective treatment of viral infections has had a significant impact on the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The event fuses research from both universities, with Highly Sprung’s use of physical theatre via dance, to illustrate the spread and control of infection at a microbial level. A diverse range of audiences are invited into an interactive dialogue that sits between science and art, allowing them to participate in a mass demonstration revealing the rapid spread of microorganisms through human contact.

We aim to target two main audiences:

1) Our local community and 2) international students.

One of the roles we have as academics is a social responsibility to reach out to the local community to disseminate our research and knowledge. Educating school students will have a lasting impact on not only their future choices, but also provide them with information which they can then communicate and discuss with their peers, family and wider community. This interactive and engaging programme in collaboration with Highly Sprung will communicate and embed the importance of AMR in a unique and inspiring format.

International students may have different attitudes to antibiotic use due to global discrepancies in prescribing policies. This project will educate and engage students during their first weeks at university, in some of the cultural differences that exist in regard to infection and AMR transmission, treatment, and control.

To disseminate this message further, we will also collaborate with our Faculty learning technologists to record the production enabling us to reach out to a wider audience.

Following the award of the grant a series of meetings were arranged with Highly Sprung in which the fundamental aspects of the academic content of the script were drafted. Highly Sprung and their amazing team of dancers then seamlessly introduced their artistic movements to the content.

A series of day rehearsals alongside the continual adaptation of the script followed leading up to the shows. The first 2 funded performances were held on the 15th July (1pm and 7.30pm) during the day and in the evening (attached flyer). These were in the Ellen Terry theatre with packed audiences (>75 in each show).

Sarah Worth (Highly Sprung) put together a short file on YouTube:

The audience was made up of a wide variety of members of the public, staff and students (including international students). Including which were representatives from Warwick Arts Centre, The Belgrade Theatre and NHS. Unfortunately because of the timings whole school parties didn’t attend (but capacity was reached anyway). Transmission was also funded for Round 2 of the Staff Project scheme to enable further performances to take place.

Transmission was also funded for Round 2 of the Staff Project scheme to enable further performances to take place.

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Coventry City of Culture 2021