Public Engagement Fund: people we've funded

This scheme supports great ideas for engaging the public in conversations about health-related science and research.

It launched in 2017 and replaced a number of our previous public engagement schemes. 

This list includes current and past grantholders.


7 Wonder Productions Ltd

The People’s History of the NHS

We will produce a third television episode in a series for the BBC called The People's History of the NHS. We will also create and share video assets with Warwick University, which will increase public engagement with its research project and website and in turn create wider interest and engagement with the BBC series.

Adekunle Rufai

SMILE (Send Me Inspiring Loving Energy) research project

The SMILE (Send Me Inspiring Loving Energy) project is a research-led photography, poetry and immersive art project which explores the impact of smiling on the overall wellbeing of young black boys and men aged 13-25. I will explore the connection between a lack of wellbeing to the rising numbers of youth violence and murders in the UK over the past year. 

I will empower these young people with the findings from my research by presenting tangible coping strategies to manage mental health and to calm violent feelings which I believe arise because of a lack of adequate mental health provision for this demographic. 

This project will help young black men and boys feel that research and data could be useful to them in their everyday lives. The need for this project has been reinforced through an overwhelming expression of interest in the study from this community.

All Seeing Eye


As the planet’s population expands, the relationship with plants and crops will be crucial to human survival. Seed is a virtual reality game which aims to explore this relationship by looking at seed banks.

Seed players can discover, grow and engineer generative plant life. The game immerses the player into a visually stunning environment, using hand tracking to allow players to craft unique and beautiful plants which appear to grow quickly before their eyes. 

Baff Akoto

When men fall: series adaptation/development

We will adapt the award-winning short story ‘What it means when a man falls from the sky’ by Lesley Arimah into a drama series. The script development team consists of a prize-winning author, an award-winning director/producer and a freelance cognitive neuroscientist script editor. The screenplay will be underpinned with biomedical research.

British Broadcasting Corporation


One hundred years ago, the Spanish Flu, the most dangerous virus, infected up to a third of the world's population and wiped out 5% of the global population. Often treated as a footnote to the story of the First World War, this major BBC docu-drama will reveal how the pandemic was the most important legacy of the conflict. It also has current relevance as the 1918 super-virus continues to wreak havoc as new variants and mutations, including avian flu, have appeared and the nightmare scenario of a global pandemic has not gone away.

This two-part programme will tell the story of the biggest pandemic in human history – and offers hope that we can protect ourselves from future disaster. 

British Pregnancy Advisory Service  

WRISK: engaging women to improve risk communication on pregnancy

Public health guidance about reproductive health in the UK is presented within a risk framework and this can conflict with maternal autonomy. Women are often unable to engage with the evidence that underpins issues such as diet and lifestyle choices in pregnancy and decisions about birth. Recent research has called for a more nuanced approach to communicating the risks to health in pregnancy with greater transparency about the principles that underpin guidance, better communication of the evidence base and a better appreciation of the complex experience of pregnancy. 

The WRISK project seeks to empower women by involving them in co-producing principles for communication and providing a platform for critical appraisal and discussion of risk and reproductive health.

We will bring together the interests of public health policy with the complex interests of women to produce principles for a more respectful approach to guidance about health risks and reproductive health. 

Chanua Ltd     

Neuro Champions Young Leaders Programme

The Neuro Champion Young Leaders Programme trains young people aged 11-18 in socially deprived areas of Merseyside from Black, Asian and migrant backgrounds. They will learn about the brain, neuroscience and mental health so they can develop tools to share and educate their peers. The programme also supports youth workers, teachers and teaching assistants to work alongside researchers, clinicians and academics to co-facilitate the programme. 

The programme allows young leaders to use digital tools to consolidate their learning by creating videos, photographs, 3D printed toys and animations to share messages about mental health and wellbeing with their peers and the wider public. 

Cliff Edge Pictures

Eternal Beauty

After years of sensationalised cinematic depictions of mental illness, we want to create a film that will redress the balance and contribute towards a greater understanding and thoughtfulness towards schizophrenia. 

Eternal Beauty will present a sensitive, humane, yet accessible, depiction of the condition. Scientists will work with our actors during rehearsals, contributing to the production process on set. They will also be present during editing to ensure 100% accuracy. Our goal is for the film to resonate with families facing the effects of the condition, while at the same time increasing awareness and sensitivity towards the condition. We also intend to make the film available for exhibitions and initiatives, such as Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Director Craig Roberts’ cult following and social media presence will publicise the film, along with mainstream media, news outlets, the critical community, promotional events and the profile of the attached actors Sally Hawkins and David Thewlis. 

Company Drinks CIC       

Molecular Fizz Lab for East London

Molecular Fizz Lab (MFL) is a new year-round activities and training programme for young people and their families in east London. It will focus on food science and the impact of refined sugar on health. The programme includes weekly drop-ins, holiday camps, an annual Molecular Fizz Academy and workshops for schools and colleges in east London and elsewhere.  

We will use our findings to develop a healthier soft drinks range created by young people using local produce. This project aims to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of people in east London.   

Dante or Die Theatre Ltd

User Not Found

Dante or Die is a leader in site-sensitive performances, having created multi-partner productions in hotels, leisure centres and self-storage buildings. We engage audiences by creating surprising and poignant performances in ‘ordinary’ spaces, both interrogating and celebrating the human condition.

User Not Found is an innovative, site-responsive play that will be performed in cafes in partnership with theatres across the UK. The production will explore our digital legacies after we die, and the scientific effects of grief on the human body. Audiences will experience the narrative using a bespoke app that syncs smartphones to deliver an intimate style of location-based storytelling. 

Deafinitely Theatre 

4.48 creatively engages the deaf community with mental health issues

4.48 was the time when artist Sarah Kane would often wake up when she had depression and this inspired the title of her play 4.48 Psychosis. We want to raise awareness of mental health issues for deaf people and our project will include a bilingual production of the play. This production will lead into an academic research project exploring psychosis through visualisation which will act as a platform for a programme of debates, discussions, workshops and resources that raise awareness of this hidden issue. 

4.48 will be led by deaf creatives, academics and other mental health professionals. The project will also include online debates and a deaf-led support group. It will enable creative exploration of health-related science and research. It will help deaf people achieve better health outcomes by raising awareness and making mental health for deaf people less of a taboo. 

Duchess Street Productions

House of Sleep

We will produce a treatment and pilot episode for a contemporary adaptation of Jonathan Coe's novel The House of Sleep. It will bring current academic research into sleep and its effect on mental health and society to a wider audience in an entertaining and thrilling way. 

The treatment and pilot episode will be shared with UK broadcasters and used to gain further development funding. 

Edinburgh International Film Festival 

EIFF Ideas Lab in Residence

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) Ideas Lab in Residence will launch in summer 2018 with a public panel discussion about using stories to engage audiences with science. Panellists will include screenwriters, filmmakers and researchers. The EIFF learning team will also work with 9-12 year olds throughout the year, looking at the way films and stories can manipulate emotions and how the body allows this to happen. 

The Ideas Lab will also invite eight screenwriters to take part in a year-long programme with access to some of the best research facilities in the UK. It will build the relationship between research and creativity, expanding the reach of the Ideas Lab beyond Edinburgh and across the UK. 

Endometriosis UK

Endometriosis Research Now!

We will improve awareness, understanding and engagement in endometriosis research by holding a conference and producing a series of films and a training pack for volunteers to deliver throughout the UK.

Films of Record  

Losing My Mind: David Harewood on the mental health frontline

We are producing a one-hour film for the BBC, taking us to the heart of the mental health crisis, by talking to people experiencing acute crises and who are using frontline services. David Harewood was sectioned in his early 20s after experiencing a psychotic breakdown – he will tell his story for the first time, letting viewers see the realities of living with mental illness.

David’s story will empower others to speak out and seek help. It will also help to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Fudge Park Productions Ltd 

Ill Behaviour

In the era of ‘fake news’, when reliable information is harder to come by and opinion is frequently presented as fact, the time is right for a mainstream television series which employs comedy and drama to engage a wide audience with accurate medical science.

We will undertake research for a proposed comedy drama television series, building on the success of Ill Behaviour which has been shown on BBC2. 

Imperial College London

Promoting awareness of perinatal depression in Nigeria

Perinatal depression is a major cause of disability in women and it also has adverse consequences for cognitive, emotional and behavioural development in children. Increasing community awareness about perinatal depression is a prerequisite for successful interventions. This may be more difficult in places where mental illness is often overlooked, such as Nigeria where an estimated 90% of people with a mental illness go untreated.  

We will develop a play and a documentary to promote conversation and increase awareness about research into the nature of perinatal depression. Our aim is to improve mental health literacy and aid the future recognition, management and prevention of perinatal depression in Nigeria.

International Documentary Festival Sheffield

Doc/Fest Exchange

Doc/Fest Exchange will present documentary storytelling experiences to inspire mental health awareness, engagement with mental health research, and enable audiences to be part of the good mental health story legacy. 

The Exchange, which is at the heart of Doc/Fest’s public and industry programme, will be an immersive platform for research-based stories, ideas and innovative forms, drawn from Doc/Fest’s Films and Alternate Realities programmes. It will bring together the public, researchers and documentary makers, and these shared experiences will result in new perceptions and change.

Lost Forest Games Ltd

Winter Hall

Winter Hall is a narrative exploration game about the legacy of the Black Death. It enables the player to leap through time and spend a few hours in the lives of a connected web of characters. As the player explores the world from their first-person perspective, items and stories from the era will surface. The player transforms into different people throughout time and explores their lives and the changes that occur through the years.

Manchester Camerata

Dementia Voices

While public awareness of dementia has increased, public understanding remains limited. We are creating a new arts and health ecology within Greater Manchester’s devolved health infrastructure. It will focus on the mental health of older people, particularly those with dementia. We will develop music-based interventions that have a significant impact on health, care and quality of life using research-led practice in collaboration with universities and NHS partners. 

Our aim is to deliver an ambitious programme of public engagement and creative enquiry into the lived experience, current research, and potential role of music in early onset dementia.

Mxr JJ Bibby

Queering the mental health model: sparking investigation through participatory performance

This project aims to support an investigation of queer working-class experiences of mental healthcare using participatory performance as research methodology. We want to find out how a queered experience of mental health services could inform a more tailored health provision for LGBTQ patients, and investigate how a ‘queering’ of the dominant medicalised model of mental healthcare may help provide more specialised support for patients. 

The project will tour non-traditional spaces, such as salons, cafes and launderettes across the UK over a year, presenting participatory performance workshops based on personal experiences of psychosis. We will invite participants to perform their experiences ‘on stage’. 

This model will provoke discussion in places not currently involved in medical discourse. We will collate our findings in a paper, a short documentary film and a fuller artistic response which will share the learning and extend the project’s impact. 

Nwando Ebizie

20 Minutes of Action: performance installation, talks, creative public experiments 

20 Minutes of Action is an installation including live performance centred around the neurological condition visual snow (VS) where people see white and black dot ‘static’. 

As an innovative approach to presenting scientific research, audiences will experience the creator’s world as an interactive exploration of atypical perception. The installation will create an immersive sensory environment using music composed by the creator supported by the PRS Foundation, interactive alternative reality technology and a physical set. The result will be large-scale interactive mythologised neurodiverse neural architecture.

Alongside this will be talks, public experiments on the neuroscience of perception, workshops and creative events that will raise people’s awareness of visual snow.

Oxfordshire Science Festival   

Unkindest Cut

We will coordinate six UK science festivals and a touring dance and digital installation that explores experiences of mental health (MH), with a specific focus on deliberate self-harm (DSH).

Each festival will work with people in the MH community before and after the event. We will put on multiple performances of Unkindest Cut inside a customised shipping container, with local additions for each festival. There will also be discussion events with local researchers and practitioners. 

We aim to stimulate a change in people’s perceptions of MH and DSH and help people talk about mental health. Our target audience is 12-25-year-olds with diagnosed MH issues or a risk of DSH, their support network as well as people with concerns about MH or DSH.

Potboiler Productions     

The Encounter – Amazon Beaming

We will make a feature film based on National Geographic journalist Loren McIntyre's encounter with the Mayoruna – an Amazonian tribe that had no experience of the wider world. The story has been documented in Petru Popescu's book The Encounter – Amazon Beaming.

We will research the film and the issues raised by Loren McIntyre’s experience. We will talk to leading experts on the effect climate change and deforestation has on the health and wellbeing of native populations. We will also work closely with the Mayoruna to ensure that their perspective and lived experience is represented in the film. 

The film will be financed by Film4 and distributed by their international partners. Our aim is to use storytelling to raise awareness of the impact of climate change and urbanisation on the health of indigenous people in the developing world and to stimulate public engagement with this issue.

RDF Television

The secret life of siblings

The Secret Life of Siblings is a spin off from the Bafta-nominated Channel 4 series, The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds. The films set out to observe sibling relationships in the raw, so we can better understand the dynamics and mechanisms underlying one of the most formative relationships in our lives.  

Rosetta Life

Stroke Odysseys 

Stroke Odysseys is a dance theatre performance and national education programme that engages the public with a discussion about neural plasticity, the creative process and stroke recovery. The performance will feature professional artists working alongside people living with the effects of a stroke. 

The project is supported by neuroscientists and is designed to engage a wide range of people in a debate about the role of creativity in stroke recovery including: those who have had a stroke and their families; health professionals; neuroscientists interested in the relationship between neuroplasticity, the creative process and neurological recovery; as well as artists and researchers.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust Charities

We are Metropolitan

We are Metropolitan is an exhibition based on the findings of research carried out at Midland Metropolitan Hospital. It will engage a diverse community by starting conversations with the people affected by the conditions that we study. We hope to use this engagement to motivate them to become involved with research at the hospital. 

The exhibition will start at the hospital’s entrance and it will include presentations by our researchers and partner universities. Architects, arts groups, universities and clinicians will create, shape and visualise our research findings into contemporary and engaging exhibition pieces. Our audience will be as diverse as the conditions we research, but they will all be visitors to the hospital. The exhibition will also inspire a secondary audience from schools and colleges as well as people directly affected by the conditions that we are researching.

Sense About Science

Ask for Evidence: an empowering public-led campaign on health claims

Ask for Evidence is an empowering public-led campaign with online support to encourage people to engage with health and research claims in the media, advertising, social networks and public statements. 

The campaign has reached more than 50,000 people to date. It has been Mumsnet’s campaign of the month, we caused Network Rail to set out a study protocol for reducing suicides and we have prompted work on an evidence-hunting scout badge. 

We intend to grow the campaign using citizen ambassadors and shareable resources to reach new and larger audiences, and achieve sufficient saturation to sustain its benefits across the UK. 

Streetcar Productions Ltd


In the 1990s Welsh musician Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers carved ‘4REAL’ into his arm in an extreme act of self-harm to prove the band’s authenticity. The iconic photograph of his injuries and the subsequent media frenzy contributed to the band’s growing fame and transformed Richey’s life. As the band scaled new heights, Richey found himself on a downward spiral of anorexia and self-harm, and the young bandmates were brought to breaking point as they struggled to reconcile how their success was inextricably linked to Richey’s controversial act. 

4REAL is a film about Richey Edwards. It is a portrait of an artist as a young man, whose ambition drove him and his childhood friends on an epic journey from working class Wales to the London music scene. 

Our film aims to start a conversation about men’s mental health and it will focus on the emotional contrasts of light and dark. 

Surrey County Council

Capturing healthcare experiences of people in prison

Clinicians are often unaware of the health inequalities faced by people in prison (PIP), who often struggle to maintain their health and wellbeing. We will raise awareness of this by producing a film about the challenges of accessing healthcare in prison. 

Film development will include interactive workshops and interviews with PIP to capture their first-hand experiences about healthcare issues. The film will be screened to clinicians who do not work in prisons to assess its ability to motivate people to improve prison healthcare, to gather initial ideas generated by the film, and how it should be distributed for maximum effect. It will also be screened in prisons, alongside a discussion forum between PIP, staff and professionals, to shape future research priorities and discuss how best to continue to involve and engage PIP in research as experts, researchers and participants. 

The Cure Parkinson's Trust     

Parkinson's Movement: people with Parkinson's driving research engagement

People with Parkinson’s may have visual disturbance, loss of fine motor skills and attentional impairment which can make it difficult for them to access information online. 

We want to inspire people with Parkinson’s to engage with their condition by taking part in research to find a cure. We will develop engaging and targeted content such as short films and audio which will make our website accessible and relevant for all people with Parkinson’s. 

Our films will create opportunities for people with Parkinson's to participate in research and we hope to reach the widest audience possible. 

The Enduring Voices Foundation

Talking Trees Project – phase II with Somali pastoralist communities in Garissa and Wajir counties

In 2016-2017, public health research called the Talking Trees Project was set up to address maternal deaths prevalent among pastoralist communities in Kenya in Narok and Kajiado counties. We used a Wellcome International Public Engagement Award and we covered modules including maternal healthcare, female genital mutilation (FGM), alternative rites of passage, women’s health (sexuality, pregnancy, HIV/Aids and mortality), human rights, child development and child marriage. 

This second phase will mobilise the Somali communities in Garissa and Wajir counties to participate in public health engagement and research forums, leading to voluntary public declarations on the abandonment of FGM. 

This project will bring together researchers, health experts and Somali communities to discuss and develop an understanding of the discrepancies between modern science and traditional practices, and to share best practice from the first phase to help minimise maternal deaths from complications of FGM. 


Empowering parents: the science of pregnancy explained

Pregnancy research has a low profile in the UK. We will work with researchers and users to run a campaign that will direct people to three short films/animations that raise awareness of the importance of medical research in pregnancy, and explain why women should use and trust pregnancy health information from reliable, evidence-based sources. 

Torbay Museums Trust

Fatal Flu – Spanish flu and the threat of pandemic

We will work with health professionals, artists and educators to start a conversation with the public about our understanding of disease, how it spreads and possible future threats. We will focus on the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918–1920 while looking at the emotional effects of ill health and the possibility for positive change. We will show that things change by looking back at our history and learning from our responses to disease and our ability to develop tools to fight diseases. 

We will include various strands of outreach to engage schools, older people and members of the wider community. This engagement will help to inform an exhibition which will run during the flu season of 2018 to mark 100 years since the outbreak of Spanish flu. 

University of Birmingham

Improving the engagement of pregnant/early postnatal women in research

It can be difficult to engage pregnant or early postnatal women with local maternity research, as women may find regular engagement challenging during a time when their lives are changing dramatically in a short space of time. 

We will pilot new approaches devised by university-based researchers and patient and public involvement advisers to engage pregnant or early postnatal women in research. Participants will help researchers translate their findings into a format suitable for a range of audiences. This will involve local researchers speaking to women about the latest maternity research and opportunities to get involved. As an extra benefit, information provided during these sessions may be useful to women during their pregnancy or after they have given birth. 

University of Glasgow  

Health research: working in partnership with people with intellectual disabilities

People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are frequently excluded from health research and their views are rarely captured. There is a need to develop robust public engagement methods with this marginalised group to improve quality and diversity in research into ID and to challenge barriers and attitudes that exclude people with ID either as subjects or participants in studies. 

We will develop an adapted citizens’ jury method that will empower people with ID to deliberate on health research issues. We will produce a consensus report with recommendations for the ID research community and we will have jury members and a project team leading a knowledge exchange session at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities global congress.

Unlimited Theatre

Future Bodies

The ‘upgraded human’ is a popular concept. Scientific research is advancing at an ever-increasing pace in fields such as cognitive psychopharmacology and neuroscience, while in the cultural sphere, the bestseller Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari considers the rise of artificial intelligence, human enhancement and data mining and how it will shape the future of the human species. 

Future Bodies is a theatre production about the ethical, political and cultural implications of human enhancement. It is a collaboration between Unlimited Theatre, RashDash and three scientists. The play will see artists being mediators in the dialogue between the science community and audiences. 
This project will broaden the ways we engage with the public about the issues of human upgrading. 

Untold Games


Terramars is a virtual reality game where the player manages six crew members in a mission to start terraforming Mars. They have to manage the planet’s resources, develop the human’s base camp and, most importantly, cope with the repercussions on the mental and physical health of the astronauts. 

Terramars explores the challenges and stresses on human bodies, minds and social relationships when adapting to life in an alien environment.

UP Projects

Look on me and be renewed

We will engage 170,000 people with the subject of addiction using the combined lens of art and science. 

We will bring together an international artist with a leading addiction scientist to emphasise how we need to collaborate to break new ground. Participants will be offered tools that enable them to ‘be renewed’ and become better connected with their environment. We aim to facilitate better health outcomes for those in addiction recovery as well as anyone interested in improving their wellbeing. 

This partnership, along with input from those in addiction recovery, can offer new perspectives and avenues for exploration and debate. 

Voltage TV Productions

The Wonderful World of Babies (working title)

In this innovative TV series, commissioned by BBC2, we will take the latest science out of the lab and into ordinary family homes by following 16 babies at different stages during the first two years of life. 

Anchored around a specially constructed BabyLab HQ designed to look and feel like a home, a team of developmental scientists will conduct a detailed naturalistic study of baby development. For six months, they will study the 16 families both in the HQ and in their homes, seamlessly moving between the lab and the living room as they explore some of the biggest unanswered questions in the field. 

The scientists will demonstrate their latest findings and generate new data about how babies’ brains change during this unprecedented time, shaping the adults they will eventually become. 


African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology

Next generation of biomedical scientists

The project seeks to inspire high school students to identify local health challenges by engaging with their community. They will then develop a scientifically credible and locally relevant solution with the support of researcher mentors. The solution will be showcased at an exhibition for community leaders, local business and relevant authorities. 

The project aims to develop problem-solving mindsets among students, and the ability to apply academic knowledge to tackle real-life challenges. We want to inspire students to consider careers in research and biomedical science and create communities that are proactive in finding solutions to local health challenges. We also want to improve the communication of health information. 

Camden People's Theatre            

Fog Everywhere

Fog Everywhere is a new theatre production looking at the impact of air pollution in the capital, explored through a playful folk history of the London fog. It is a collaboration between Camden People’s Theatre (CPT), King’s College London’s Lung Biology Group and a group of young people based in Camden – where residents are in the top 13 per cent of the most deprived UK communities in terms of living environment. It was developed through a programme of school workshops and it will headline a two-week festival exploring air pollution and practical ways to contribute to its reduction.

With almost 10,000 people killed annually by air pollution in London, and with the city’s first top-level toxic air warning issued in January 2017, the time is ripe for Fog Everywhere. The project draws on CPT’s experience of presenting theatre festivals connected with urgent political issues, such as Whose London Is It Anyway?, a festival exploring regeneration and the housing crisis, that was attended by more than 2,500 people in January 2016.

The project will make the science behind air pollution more widely understood by translating it to human stories that will help audiences reduce their environmental impact, protect their health and participate in change.

Daily Life Ltd

Great & Tiny War

Intergenerational transmission of trauma is an important but under-researched topic that has implications for military families, survivors of genocide and domestic abuse and those affected by natural disasters such as floods or famine. 

Great & Tiny War is an art installation by Bobby Baker that re-imagines the First World War in a house in Tyneside. It follows an extensive period of research and development, exploring post-traumatic illnesses, mental health and intergenerational trauma to see if bad experiences trickle on through subsequent generations, and how people survive after trauma. It will be accompanied by an extensive public engagement programme with digital legacy. 

The work will bring together professionals, academics, diverse audiences and participants to reflect upon these issues, opening creative responses to unheard perspectives. 

Echo Presents              

Fertility Fest

Fertility Fest is the first arts festival dedicated to the science of making babies. After a pilot in 2016, we want to deliver two more festivals creating a high profile platform of inspirational and provocative performances, exhibitions, discussion and debate related to fertility, infertility and assisted reproduction.

The festivals will involve over 100 artists and fertility experts and will explore a wide spectrum of issues including the impact of conceiving (or not) using an imperfect science, our responsibilities to the children born as a result, and how far we should go in pursuit of parenthood as the science develops.

The festival is aimed at the wider public but key audiences include patients, fertility professionals and young people who urgently need better fertility education.

By 2020 we hope to have created a high profile national discourse so that patients and the public have the opportunity to explore, debate and shape fertility science. We aim to improve support and solidarity for patients of assisted conception so they feel less isolated, and build greater understanding of the emotional and ethical issues related to fertility treatment in order to improve patient care and outcomes.

Edinburgh International Book Festival           

Taking the Air              

The Edinburgh International Book Festival in conjunction with Durham University and the British Lung Foundation will examine breath and breathlessness in the context of fiction, poetry and music and demonstrate how this relates to society’s current attitudes towards people who have breathlessness.

Our project, Taking the Air, will comprise a programme of events as part of our 2017 and 2018 festivals with authors such as Janice Galloway, Imtiaz Dharker and James Kelman, that will aim to destigmatise and explore how our understanding of conditions causing breathlessness has evolved through fiction. It will also involve a research project exploring how writers seek inspiration by taking a breath, a community engagement project centring around an arts residency in Glenrothes in Fife and free breath-related activities in a specially designed ‘drop-in’ space as part of the 2017 festival.

Lung disease is the third most common cause of death in Scotland. Given the hundreds of thousands of Scottish people affected by poor lung health, particularly in areas with high levels of socio-economic deprivation, we will aim to raise awareness of breathlessness among a wide public audience, exploring more fully its links to a range of both physiological and mental health conditions.

Edinburgh International Film Festival            

EIFF Ideas Laboratory

EIFF will work with the Beltane Public Engagement Network to host a series of public and talent development events focusing on comedy and science in film. In 2017 we will offer a number of events targeting filmmakers, young audiences and comedy lovers, in addition to our main public film audiences.

Events will include a discussion event looking at the science of humour and comedy; the third ‘Write to Research’ lab where six comedy screenwriters and six researchers will spend time discussing how and why comedy works; and a comedy evening where researchers will be invited to present their ideas to a questioning crowd. For younger audiences, the Laugh Off will engage 9-12 year olds in a discussion about what is funny and why, and what laughter does to the body. The EIFF Youth Hub Filmmaking Competition will connect 15-25 year olds with researchers and filmmakers to support them in creating a short film about the festival, followed by a public screening of the best films made.

Finally, expanding outside the festival dates, the screenwriter in residence programme will support a Scottish screenwriter in developing project ideas through access to research and researchers.


Eh!Woza: drug resistant TB music collaboration    

Eh!Woza’s have developed collaborative opportunities with talented young musicians from Cape Town townships and young people living with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). We aim to develop and formalise these emerging relationships and broaden Eh!Woza’s public engagement practice and impact.

Our workshops will bring together young people living with DR-TB who are enrolled in Eh!Woza, and biomedical researchers from Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative-Africa and the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM). The young people will share personal narratives and explore the biomedicine of DR-TB, showing researchers the lived reality of DR-TB and inspiring musicians to produce new music and music videos. These videos will combine the personal stories of DR-TB affected youth and the experience of young musicians in poverty and disease-stricken areas. The project will culminate with an annual outdoor concert in the township on World TB Day, showcasing Eh!Woza’s youth-produced films and music videos along with live performances. 

Festival Republic         

Latitude 2017: Come the Revolution            

Latitude’s Wellcome Trust programme has grown in ambition, specificity and reach. Using what we have learnt from last year we have honed our objectives. We want to present science in a way that has specific relevance for the audience. We aim to achieve better health outcomes by encouraging audiences to embrace new research and increase understanding of themselves and the science of why and how. We want to make it ‘personal’ and easy to embrace the format and idea behind the science. We will be testing new ways of engaging people through theatrical and discursive formats.

Our 2016 evaluation showed greater scope to position science as part of our mainstream cultural programme for changing ideas, environments and how audiences access this information. It also helped us better understand 16-25 year-olds and their motivations for attending, which formats engaged them and their perception of science. In 2017 we will use our learning to design health-related science events specifically for this audience.

Through direct engagement with our audience, scientists have the opportunity to learn directly about the awareness and impact of their work, informing their research and setting up possible artist collaborators and future public engagement.

Florence Nightingale Museum    

A Touch of Flu: centenary of the Spanish flu pandemic    

In 2018 the Florence Nightingale Museum will tour ‘A Touch of Flu’, an exhibition focusing on the ‘Spanish’ flu pandemic, to open up dialogue about what we have learned to inform how we should respond to future outbreaks of disease. Between the early summer of 1918 and the spring of 1919 the ‘Spanish’ influenza (so-called because Spain was the only country not to censor reports of the spreading epidemic) claimed the lives of a quarter of a million people in Britain. Worldwide, the death toll from the flu has been estimated at 50 million – ten times as many as died in the First World War and ten million more than AIDS has killed over thirty years. 

Timed for the centenary of the pandemic in 2018, this project is part of a collaboration between the Florence Nightingale Museum, Queen Mary University of London and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Graeae Theatre Company    

Graeae at Marina Beach: outdoor performance, research and workshops in Chennai    

Graeae Theatre Company will reunite with deaf and disabled artists and researchers from Tamil Nadu and the outdoor performance company La Fura Dels Baus to create a new outdoor production on the themes of disability and isolation, playing to 30,000 people in Chennai. Alongside this performance, the team plan to develop skills and network with a new generation of artists with disabilities in South India, through a mentorship programme and four-week workshops in Chennai.

We will build on a year of development work with South Indian partners to create a more nuanced engagement with disability among the public and build a legacy of a more engaged and vocal disabled community in Chennai, raising public consideration and conversation around the social model of disability and encouraging a public that is more aware of the disabling effects of societal attitudes.

Infers Group    

Arting health for impact: Botswana, South Africa and India    

This project will explore the potential of using street art and collaborative design to engage the public on science and health in Botswana, India and South Africa. The team plan to forge collaborations between biomedical researchers, street artists and community members so they can interact with each other and create culturally-relevant and sensitive art installations in each of these countries. We will explore best practice in each country, in order to understand how scalable the project is as well as the impact of cross-country collaboration. 

Intrepid Cinema

The Islands and the Whales 

The Islands and the Whales is a film about the people of the Faroe Islands, their reliance on hunting whales and the impact that pollution has had on their lives.
We will organise a series of screenings in cinemas, community venues and workplaces across the UK with panel discussions about the issues raised in the film with scientific experts. The post-screening discussions will be live-streamed online and to the other screenings and recorded to increase the reach of our public engagement. 
The aim of the project is to engage audiences in understanding how biomedical knowledge can be used to improve public health, even when there is strong cultural resistance to the policies proposed. 

International Documentary Festival Sheffield                  

Doc/Fest Exchange     

The Doc/Fest Exchange will be a welcoming, free pop-up space in the heart of Sheffield, hosting talks and events where audiences feel part of the discussion. Curated by Erinma Ochu, the Doc/Fest Exchange will host a breakfast reception for all festival audiences, followed by four talks related to the Doc/Fest 2017 talent, stories and experiences.

The Doc/Fest Exchange will be influenced by the festival’s programme, including films nominated for the Doc/Fest Illuminate Award exploring the screen chemistry between human storytelling and scientific understanding.

As part of our expanding cross-platform programming initiative, we will welcome back the Doc/Fest researcher programme. We would like to encourage researchers to connect with storytellers, interactive and virtual reality makers and others who are attending the festival.

iWoman Media Ltd

Dig Deep: exploring women's health through media

We will build a radio station dedicated to women’s science issues, research and wellbeing. It will provide science advisory services as well as training for science broadcasters. We will particularly target women from the refugee community in Liverpool to help open health and science discussions to all women. 

Laburnum Boat Club    

Youth Afloat    

The Laburnum Boat Club is a community-based boating project by the Regents Canal in south Hackney. It is a voluntary organisation managed by local people and it aims to provide opportunities for the personal development of children, young people and their families in the local community. Youth Afloat will engage young people (aged nine to 19) with a programme of formal and informal activities designed to improve their overall physical wellbeing, enhance their understanding of good health and introduce them to the scientific research methods used to explore these topics. This project aims to provide transferable skills in scientific enquiry and the exploration of evidence. 

Liverpool Mental Health Consortium

Lunatic Fringe

For more than 20 years, we have worked successfully to ensure that people who experience mental distress can contribute to service commissioning to influence local mental health strategy through peer-led, community-based research. Changes in funding priorities for NHS England and local commissioners mean it is no longer possible to use this route to ensure that service users’ voices make a genuine difference to service design and delivery. 

We will develop a Living Lab by building on extensive experience and contacts with arts organisations and researchers at The University of Liverpool. This hub will support peer-led research and public engagement about mental distress and community wellbeing, in collaboration with established university-based research groups. 

A key part of the programme will be independent evaluation enabling us to fine-tune the approach to make it sustainable.

MACHA Productions  

Madame Geneva: a tale of gin and prostitution

Macha Productions seeks to stage Madame Geneva, a bawdy song and dance set in 18th century London where performance, baroque, folk, contemporary music, professional and community actors all meet over a bottle of gin. Madame Geneva, the popular name for gin, lands with the Dutch armies of William of Orange, almost immediately invoking a gloriously decadent atmosphere across the classes. Sold at the cornershop, she offers the poor – particularly women – easy-to-access alcohol. The government struggles to find a way to reap rewards from gin taxes while trying to stop the lower classes from imbibing. To this end, Madame Geneva’s gin-addled image has been tied to fallen women, fishwives and bad mothers. This in turn influenced the establishment of the Magdalen Penitentiary where approaches to the reform of fallen women institutionalise narratives of good and bad women.

These moral narratives have survived and underpin current approaches to women, poverty, addiction, public health and social policy. Working with trainee actors from some of Northern Ireland’s most deprived communities and Dr Anne Campbell, Macha Productions’ professional team will premiere Madame Geneva at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast to provoke awareness, debate and media coverage on the rising tide of addiction that rampages through Northern Ireland’s post-conflict society.

Neon Films

ARK – film research and development

We will create a detailed 15-page fully-referenced treatment, in consultation with leading scientists, for a screenplay called ARK about assisted human reproduction and antibiotic resistance. 

The play will tell the story of people on Earth as they grapple with an unstoppable antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a ‘generation ship’ of scientists is launched to travel to the planet Alpha Centauri to harvest a newly discovered antibiotic there. As the donor-conceived children who are born on the ship come of age, they begin to question their identities, the ship's purpose – and to confront what it truly means to be human. 

The film is intended for international, mainstream, cinematic and digital release. It will delve into the practical and conceptual issues of antibiotic resistance, genetic history and changing notions of the ‘family unit’ while exploring themes of identity, indigenousness and truth – and asks: what makes us human and where do we belong? 

Royal College of Art

Marked (working title)

Marked, will be an experimental, adult-oriented, animated cartoon art film that creates a greater awareness and acceptance of the psychological effect of disfigurement and post-surgical trauma, particularly mastectomy tattoos chosen by people with breast cancer. The film will feature Alicia who after having mastectomy surgery, declined breast reconstruction but instead decorated her scars with a tattoo. The fantastical, open-ended nature of cartoon animation will allow Alicia to tell her story and represent her very real, extreme, exaggerated states of being. 

The film will raise complex questions and ideas about disfigurement, body-image, symmetry and post-surgical trauma: What role does symmetry play in our physical and psychological understanding of ourselves? What are the boundaries of physical and psychological loss? What does it mean to have a tattoo where there were once breasts? What happens to our identity/bodies after surgery?

The visual manifestations of myths, folktales, personal narratives, ideas, desires and/or histories, the locations of the tattoos, the act of tattooing and the tattoos themselves are powerful responses to disfigurement that mark the sites of trauma, while marking the survival of breast cancer.

Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation

Bucket Loads of Health

A drought in Cape Town has led to restrictions on water usage and residents are experimenting with different water-saving methods, including harvesting rainwater and recycling grey water for household use. 

We will respond to the multiple health risks that are associated with these approaches to reusing water using a series of audio-visual workshops where participants can explore their experiences of water shortage and water saving. The workshop will enable co-learning between water scientists, government representatives and community members, allowing the exchange of knowledge about how water-saving efforts can compromise health and encouraging people to think of ways to make these measures safer. 

This work will emphasise the importance of public engagement in making scientific research more accessible and relevant to communities and policy makers. It will also enable policy makers to draft guidelines underlining the health-related aspects of water saving and reuse of water in different contexts. 

The Involve Foundation

MH:2K – a youth-led approach to exploring mental health

We will empower young people to explore science and research into mental health, influencing research priorities and decision-making in the public sector. We will build on our successful pilot in Oldham, turning it into a financially sustainable model that will have a national impact. We will test the MH:2K model in four areas that are demographically and geographically different to Oldham and build a network of local and national champions who will promote the model.

By the end of this project, we will have enabled more than 2,000 diverse young people – particularly those who have had limited opportunities to be involved in science – to explore research about mental health and its social and cultural effects. We will offer researchers and decision-makers a youth-led perspective on mental health that takes account of the changing environment facing young people. This will encourage critical engagement with mental health research, informed decisions and increased knowledge of, and appetite for, public engagement. We will also collect the evidence and support needed to make MH:2K financially sustainable.

University College Dublin

Lived Lives: from Tory Island to Swift’s Asylum 

Suicide is the leading cause of death of young adults in Ireland and the UK and it is cloaked in stigma and shame. The voices of marginalised people in rural communities and psychiatric communities are often disregarded when it comes to suicide.

We will address the stigma of suicide in a safe space by restoring identity to people who have died by suicide by acknowledging their loss in a non-judgmental and compassionate setting. We will address stigma through co-collaboration, engagement, dialogue and action. Interactive lectures, mediated exhibitions and an international interdisciplinary symposium of artists, scientists and communities will engage the public with suicide and the transformative effect it has in these rural communities. 

We will disseminate the work to inspire collaborations between art and science about topics that deal with loss and identity, where validation is overlooked or eclipsed by the silence of stigma. 

University College London

Jeevan Shakti Mela - Funfair for lifeforce

Type 2 diabetes is increasing in prevalence, particularly in low-income countries, but it is often not well understood among marginalised populations. 

We will work in the rural plains of Nepal to enable Maithil women artists from the Janakpur Women’s Development Centre (JWDC) to engage with communities about diabetes using research, drama and a funfair. JWDC artists and researchers will plan discussions with community members, people with diabetes, health workers and pharmacists about their knowledge about diabetes and its effects, and we will produce traditional Maithil paintings, props, interactive displays and games for a funfair. 

We hope to increase knowledge, understanding and motivation to prevent diabetes among JWDC artists and community members. 

University of Manchester

Resilience, recovery and happiness within deprived communities

This project explores differing perspectives and experiences of resilience, recovery and happiness by linking music in deprived communities to research at the University of Manchester’s Division of Psychology and Mental Health. 

Diverse groups living in the most deprived areas of Manchester and Salford will engage in a programme of music-based activities over 24 months. Community groups will use workshops, discussions, debate and radio broadcasts as resources to create songs and lyrics about mental health resilience, recovery and happiness. 

This will contribute to a creative portfolio which uses emphasises practical strategies, such as coping with stress and anxiety, to improve mental health and wellbeing. The aim is for diverse groups in deprived areas to grow and manage the resource as a community asset for interactive engagement with resilience and recovery research. 

University of Manchester    

Extending the 14-day rule: what do citizens believe is right?    

Research on human embryos can only happen under a license in the UK and it is illegal to keep them alive in laboratories for more than 14 days after fertilisation. This is called the ‘14-day rule’. Some scientists recently called for an extension of up to 28 days to enable better research into why early miscarriage occurs, and to improve our understanding of diseases. A YouGov survey, found that 48% of the people they asked supported extending the 14-day rule and 25% were unsure. This is a complex question and surveys do not provide sufficient evidence to enable people to make informed judgements.

We will scope the development of a project to engage the public in this important question, exploring the use of a variety of methods including citizens’ juries.

University of Oxford

A realist review of community engagement with health research

We will conduct a comprehensive review of community engagement (CE) using a realist review approach appropriate for tackling the conceptual complexity and practical diversity of the field. A team of world-leading experts in the theory and practice of CE will be supported by an advisory panel of internationally renowned realist review scholars. The review will begin with engagement with malaria research as a ‘pathfinder’ topic and draw on a network of experts, implementers and funders.

Our consolidated evidence base will underpin development of CE strategies in global health research and interventions. Outputs will include articles in peer-reviewed, open-access journals, an accessible evidence base on MESH/HELP, including guidance for developing and evaluating CE strategies and a critical mass of academics, practitioners, implementers and funders with a mutual interest in strengthening the theory and practice of engagement. 

The review will spearhead the beginnings of a ‘science’ of community engagement and outline a clear value proposition for CE in global health research.

University of St Andrews

Cell Block Science and Beyond the Walls

Cell Block Science will build on our programme of informal science learning in Shotts and Low Moss prisons. We will expand the programme to Perth prison and Polmont young offenders’ unit and include women prisoners and young offenders. We will also pilot integrated delivery for family learning through HMP Perth’s established family programme. We will also create a virtual school with the Children's University to encourage the uptake of informal learning opportunities beyond this project.
We will open this programme to researchers from all Scottish universities as well as participants from community organisations such as science centres and zoos. This will provide an opportunity for researchers to develop interactive, accessible activities linked to their research.
The programme will be evaluated for best practice and disseminated to stakeholders and interested parties, including a wider European network of prison educators who have already expressed an interest. In addition, we aim to highlight the value of science learning in prisons to present to policy makers as evidence for including formal science in the prison curriculum.

Young Vic Company   

Wings at the Young Vic                 

The Young Vic has a reputation for creating ground-breaking shows with the most talented artists. We keep ticket prices low and give 10 per cent away for free to non-traditional theatre audiences. This gives us one of the most exciting, diverse and young audiences in the country. In autumn 2017, director Natalie Abrahami will stage Arthur Kopit’s Wings with Juliet Stevenson playing the lead role of a woman experiencing the aftermath of a debilitating stroke. We will work with neurologist Dr Paul Jarman and stroke patients, and the show will reach a large and diverse audience.

Alongside the run of 45 performances in September and October 2017, we will have a programme of activities that will widen Wings’ reach and impact, including three post-show talks, four in-school and two on-stage workshops and a funded ticket scheme. We will also put on a community show inspired by Wings working with adults experiencing dementia or neurological disorders. This will be performed at the Young Vic, in care homes and medical centres.

Zimbabwe National Association for Mental Health 

Z Factor        

Zimbabwean culture has always valued drama, music and dance as crucial elements of community socialisation and unity. Drawing from some of the experience of our collaborators and technical advisors, this project will introduce a community arts and culture competition, called Z Factor, as a creative way of opening up conversations, sparking public debate and tackling stigma attached to psychosis in rural Zimbabwe. 

Our overall aim is to help combat stigma by offering alternative explanations as well as learning more about community perceptions with the hope to identify suggestions for how traditional and modern care pathways for psychosis may collaborate. 

Previous schemes (2010-2016)

Small Arts Awards

Large Arts Awards

Development Fund

International Engagement Awards

People Awards

Society Awards

Capital Awards

Capital Awards for Learned Societies