Public Engagement Activities
We enjoy getting out of the lab to talk with the wider community about our research. This includes giving talks on the need for novel treatments for autoimmune disease as part of Pint of Science 2019 and to patient groups, including the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.
We also love to inspire children to think about how their immune systems work. Through visits to schools, libraries, and participation in the Glasgow Science Festival, we have developed a number of activities that inspire and inform. Some of our larger projects are described in more detail below.
- Funded by a ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award
This is a multi-layered project with partners in a local primary school, Anderston Primary, and the Glasgow School of Art. We are working together to create novel engagement activities and displays designed by the primary school children themselves. These will be displayed at the school and the Glasgow Science Festival to help enthuse and inform the broader community about immune responses to respiratory viruses and the vaccines that prevent these diseases.
Silent Signal (2013-2017)
Silent Signal, an arts/science collaborative project was funded by the Wellcome Trust and run by the arts charity, Animate Projects. The project aimed to encourage and support experimentation in animation by pairing artists and scientists to work together on an animation based on the scientist’s research.
I worked with Eric Schockmel, a moving image artist and director, to create 'Immunecraft' - a trailer for a fictional video game based on the concepts of immune cell adaption to different environments, immunological memory, and autoimmunity. The atmospheric and beautiful animation also raises bioethical questions about gene editing and biohacking.
As part of Silent Signal, I presented talks in Derby and Birmingham at Arts/Science meetings to showcase the animation and discuss its impact. We also presented the animation at the Glasgow Science Festival in 2016, when over 200 people watched the animation and/or discussed the project with us.
As part of World Women’s Day, I presented a talk on my experiences as a female scientist and the importance of engagement between scientists and the wider community at Quad, an art gallery in Derby.
Bus Target (Nov 2017)
Children at the Lundin Links library learned how immune cells find and destroy disease causing bugs using bug stickers, glue, and lots of glitter!
Immune Matchmaking (April 2017)
Children and parents at St Francis Primary School in Glasgow learned how immune cells tailor their responses to different types of bugs.
Location and Timing in Autoimmune Disease (Jan 2017)
I attended the local National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society meeting and discussed a new research plan with local people with rheumatoid arthritis.
KENBOP | The Immune System Armoury (Sept 2016)
As part of the KENBOP meeting in Kilifi, Kenya, we met with local school children to have some fun learning how the immune system responds to different kinds of bugs.