"Care as Science: The Role of Animal Husbandry in Translational Medicine" asks how and why animal care is being made an explicit part of scientific knowledge production today, in the context of translational medicine. The project runs from 2015 to 2019, and is funded by a Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award. Carrie Friese, Associate Professor at the LSE, is the Principle Investigator. Carrie and the Animal Research Nexus team have longstanding links and shared interests. Carrie was a co-author on the paper “Developing a Collaborative Agenda for Humanities and Social Scientific Research on Laboratory Animal Science and Welfare” published in PLOS ONE (Davies et al 2016), and also sits on the Animal Research Nexus Programme Advisory Committee. Ongoing collaboration between Care as Science and the Animal Research Nexus includes organising exchanges on work in progress on specific themes such as "cultures of care" in laboratories and regulation, as well as organising a future workshop on the theme of National Cultures of Animals, Science and Care with Animal Research Nexus team members.
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.
Paul is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist, with an interest in nonhuman animals, performance and public engagement. He has been involved in developing the Mouse Exchange with the team in Geography and Environment at University of Southampton, where has also worked on projects looking at men’s protein eating habits and on trying to map the spread of AMR bacteria around hospital wards. Paul is interested in how creativity and participation can generate new understandings for our relations to nonhuman worlds, and tries to do this in ways that are interactive, surprising and fun.
Alongside work at Southampton, Paul has an established career as an artist, presenting performances, videos and collaborative projects internationally since 2003. He has a PhD from the University of Bristol, where he is currently artist-in-residence, teaches in Visual Culture at the University of West of England, and is also working on an AHRC-funded project on the Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare. He lives with his partner, two dogs and quite a few plants.
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 premiered in March 2019 at NIAMOS Radical Arts Centre, Manchester.