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Dancing, dialogue & data at the Bloomsbury Festival

Our researchers displayed a remarkable range of creative skills at this year’s Festival, engaging over 1100 people with their work through the mediums of movement, spoken word and animation!

For those who had always wished that books could talk, the School hosted the Living Library on 18 October. Visitors could loan ‘living books’ – students and staff with absorbing public health tales – and hear about subjects ranging from TB, Flu and Ebola to maternal health, disability rights and urban regeneration. The relaxed and friendly environment provided a great atmosphere for sharing experiences, and it was hard to convince visitors to put our books down!

There were also drop-in activities in Russell Square on 19-20 October:

A team of intrepid epidemiologists developed a lively tarantella – a traditional southern Italian curative dance which aims to ‘stamp out’ the poison from a spider bite – to showcase an example of community-centred healthcare. Over 150 audience members flocked to join the cast in whirling around the Festival’s Ministry of Movement tent in two public performances. Researchers developed their own script and choreography, assembled a star cast and accompanied the performance on the piano and violin.

Image: The audience join in the Tarantella dance

Other activities were specifically tailored to families. The School’s CHILDSPLA group invited visitors to test an animated iPad app that will be used to help children express how they feel to health professionals, and plasticine modelling and drawing activities were also on offer to explore this theme. Visitor comments about the animations were really illuminating and are being fed back into the research process:

“Have you thought about using this app with adults with learning difficulties?”

“I like this app. It gives children control rather than allowing adults to put words in their mouths”

Image: Making models to talk about how we’re feeling in our ‘Happy and you know it?’

See more photos from Bloomsbury festival on our Facebook page.