The Medical Research Council’s Mary Lyon Centre (MLC) is located on the Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire. The MLC opened in 2004 and is now firmly established as a central state of the art animal facility for the generation and phenotypic characterisation of genetically modified mice. The mouse is an important model species in the study of genetic disease because of its small size, rapid generation time and the availability of an array of exquisitely precise molecular tools that can be used to alter the genetic code. The Centre’s collective goal is to support the wider research community by providing high quality mouse strains, phenotype data, expertise and other services. In 2017, the MLC was awarded the Understanding Animal Research’s Openness Award for Public Engagement for opening their labs to 3D cameras so a 360 degree virtual tour of the facility could be made including videos and pop out information. The MLC has been involved with The Animal Research Nexus through its position on the Programme Advisory Committee and its interaction with the Engagement and Involvement arm looking at ways to engage more fully with the public.

The Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford opened in April 2015. The Unit is uniquely multidisciplinary and integrates exceptional research programmes covering clinical, experimental and computational neuroscience. The Unit's collective goal is to understand and exploit the moment-to-moment interactions between nerve cells that are critical for brain functions, with a special focus on the brain circuits underlying movement and memory. In achieving this, the Unit aims to develop and deliver novel therapies that specifically target the disturbed circuit interactions arising in disease. In 2018, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit won Understanding Animal Research’s 2018 Openness Award for Public Engagement Activity. The Unit have been involved in discussions with the Engagement and Involvement strand of The Animal Research Nexus, helping us understand how scientists and research facilities engage with public groups and involve patient groups in conversations about animal research.

The Lab Collective create interactive, visceral live experiences; treading the line between theatre, game and installation, The Lab Collective empower the audience to collaborate in our performances. They have worked in a variety of traditional and non-traditional performance spaces, exploring and playing across disciplines to generate an innovative theatrical experience.

The Lab Collective’s work consists of three strands; interactive installations, socially relevant performance which explores current social questions, and large scale immersive performance for festivals and alternative sites.

Much of their work is socially and politically engaged and asks questions about issues which impact us all, giving a voice to unheard stories – told not only by our performers – but by the audience themselves.

The Lab Collective is committed to developing a shared interactive performance practice, running workshops to improve skills of Interactive performers and Theatre Makers.  These workshops run regularly at our new home, The Fly Pit, Stanley Halls as well as a variety of immersive spaces.

We have been collaborating with The Lab Collective for over a year to create Vector. Vector is an interactive experience, which uses elements of performance, game and integrated technology to open up dialogue and shed light on the ethics that society faces when using animals as part of medical research.

Vector premieres in March 2019 at NIAMOS Radical Arts Centre, Manchester.