Arthritis in the CiTI
For Arthritis Awareness Week, we caught up with Annabelle Scott, Centre Manager for Centre for Inflammation and Therapeutic Innovation, about their Arthritis in the CiTI event, supported through our Community Engagement Grants scheme.
Earlier this year, the Centre for Inflammation and Therapeutic Innovation (CiTI) was awarded a grant by the Centre of Public Engagement to help support its annual engagement event for 2018 “Arthritis in the CiTI”. For this event we invited members of the community with arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases to meet the scientists working on arthritis research and show them a snippet of the fantastic work we are doing at the William Harvey Research Institute.
We have had some previous experience in doing public engagement; in 2017 we invited people interested in learning more about arthritis research to a summer barbeque. This year we wanted the event to be smaller and not so weather dependent (on the day of the barbeque torrential rain meant that the turn out wasn’t so great!). We also wanted the event to be family friendly, so we decided to schedule it in the afternoon during half term with activities, talks and lab tours, all rounded off with tea and cake.
The event was advertised on Eventbrite and marketed through social media channels, various websites, the arthritis clinic at the Royal London and via email contacts. Preparation for the afternoon went very smoothly although there was always the worry that we wouldn’t get enough people. We also did a last minute dash to the craft store as one of the researchers had a great kids activity idea to create different types of cells involved in inflammation with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, pompoms, wool and play dough!
In the end there was no need to worry as twenty five people out of the thirty four that registered attended. They initially listened to a series of short “Royal Society” style talks given by four QMUL scientists: Dr James Whiteford, Dr Tina Chowdhury, Dr Chris Schultz and Dr Elisa Corsiero. The talks were very interactive, Tina brought in props which she got members of the audience to use to illustrate the structure of our joints. After the talks, our researchers took small groups around the labs and told them about the work we are doing in the field of arthritis/musculoskeletal diseases. The event finished with an afternoon tea where the attendees had the opportunity to meet researchers, ask questions informally and take part in some interactive stalls and games.
We hope that the afternoon informed people with arthritis about the exciting research that is being conducted in our departments at QMUL, and also increased awareness amongst our researchers of what patients need and expect from research. Based on the positive feedback and success of this initiative and last year’s barbeque, CiTI intends to run similar engagement events in the future, which we hope will motivate and inspire both the public and researchers to get involved in scientific outreach events.
For more information on CiTI please visit the website: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/citi/
We are also on twitter: @CiTI_QMUL
You can apply for up to £500 each month to support Community Engagement projects. The deadline is 15th of each month. Find out more about our Community Engagement Small Grants here.