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I:DNA - Digital Engagement


I:DNA is a Wellcome Trust funded project that was created to engage the public with research led by Professor Felicity Boardman, in conjunction with Dr Corinna Clark, at Warwick Medical School. The research explores the experiences of people living with inherited conditions and their attitudes towards genetic medicine.

This video provides an overview of the art installation produced to explore these themes. You can read more about the project as a whole here.

Digital Engagement

Our online presence has been a key part of our engagement activities. Central to this are our I:DNA webpages, which were designed to contain all relevant information regarding the installation, including a film about the creative process of making I:DNA, films of audience reactions, as well as practical information such as tour dates. These webpages will continue to be available as a public engagement resource.

As engagement with the research was as key aim, the webpages contain highly visible links to the research pages for the ‘Imagining Futures’ research programme. We also have links to our creative collaborators for anyone interested in finding out more about their work.

We created additional linked pages for all our associated events, including the online I:DNA event (created during Covid-19 restrictions) for ESRC FoSS 2020, the craft workshop (including a portal for parents to submit photographs of their child’s artwork and a gallery of the submitted photos) and the poetry event (including links to the performance event and published anthology). The online game created by artist Esther Appleyard-Fox can also be accessed via the I:DNA webpages.

We wanted to ensure all outputs from the project were as accessible as possible. The numerous films created with STAMP CIC (including the installation video/soundscape) are displayed with subtitles and downloadable transcripts and the pictures on our webpages have ‘alt text’ descriptions.

The video display and soundscape that were part of the installation can be accessed via the webpages and we have a QR code displayed next the sculpture (currently housed in the atrium of IBRB) linked directly to this page, so that visitors to the sculpture can experience these simultaneously.

We provided numerous ways for visitors to contact the team (online feedback forms, email, and Twitter). We also used the number of visits to the webpages to assess how many people had accessed information about the installation and its associated events.

The use of digital media became even more important during the Covid-19 restrictions, when all our engagement activity had to be moved into virtual spaces.

Our main collaborator, STAMP CIC, are media professionals and so together we were able to produce several high-quality video resources. One of these films details the personal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on several of our original research participants and was exhibited with the installation in Leamington Spa Art Gallery. As our research participants included some of the most clinically vulnerable to Covid-19, we felt it was important to not only document their experiences, but to make these resources easily accessible for those who were unable to visit public spaces. When restrictions began to ease, we continued to use a hybrid approach to our engagement, for example, the poetry and craft workshops could be attended in-person or be accessed online, and similarly, the poetry performance was as a hybrid online/in-person event.