At the closing ‘Researching Animal Research’ conference, we were delighted to bring together a set of diverse speakers to discuss perspectives on using creative methods for thinking about animal research. Throughout the project we have worked to develop creative methods to both study and engage the professional, student, and lay audiences of animal research.
The Animal Research Nexus Programme ran its closing workshop at the end of March (2023) at the Wellcome Trust in London. This was an opportunity for us to meet with colleagues, collaborators, and critical friends to review our research, reflect on the outcomes, and explore connections with other people and projects working in similar areas.
Research conducted by members of the AnNex team has highlighted the growing number of initiatives designed to engage and involve people with health conditions with the research that affects them. Our research has also identified some of the challenges that emerge as people affected by health conditions are invited into animal facilities or asked to evaluate research involving animals.
Lately, the Nottingham team have been reflecting on reflecting. With the AnNex programme in its final phases, we’re considering how we have approached the issue of animal research as different individuals in differing disciplines, brought together to explore the nexus of animal research.
Over three days in July 2022, colleagues from the UK and beyond gathered online to discuss the thorny question of veterinary expertise.
In our work on the cultures of care and communication in animal research, we often asked ourselves the question: why are fish not the ‘poster critters’ of animal research?
How does how you feel about fish shape how fish get to feel?
How does the introduction and spread of different species and sites transform practices of ethical review, the 3Rs, animal care, and public engagement? Is it true that fish feel less and people feel less about what they do feel? If so how can we start conversations around which the public are ambivalent?
Care is complicated and hard. To paraphrase social theorist Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, writing in 2011: it can feel good, it can do good, it can feel awful, it can oppress. Puig de la Bellacasa’s work was pioneering in drawing attention to how the complexities of care are entangled in ethics and politics, and formative in shaping both technoscience and different nature cultures.