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I:DNA - Funding


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.

Sources of funding:

Felicity received a ‘Wellcome Trust Research Enrichment – Public Engagement Grant’ to translate the research into a touring multi-media art installation. This fund was available to Wellcome grant holders, though this funding stream is no longer available.

Additional funding was secured to produce some of our associated events through the ESRC Festival of Social Science. Some of the festivals and locations covered other costs for us (e.g. paying or waiving venue hire costs, assisting with marketing, curating the installation). This resource, detailing our experience with public engagement, was funded by WIE.

Types of costs:

A large part of our funding was assigned to pay for the time of our artistic collaborators and contributors (e.g. STAMP, Entify, choirs, poet, geneticist) and the material costs of creating the installation. As we were touring a large installation, we also had to factor in transportation and assembly costs at each venue. We employed a small team of qualified personnel to erect and dismantle the installation at each site across the tour. We also had to find facilities for storing the installation between events.

Some venues and festivals charge for exhibiting, and the cost of this can vary widely. It is worth investigating whether they will offer a discounted rate (e.g., if your event/exhibit fits one of their main themes), or if they can offer any other sources of funding or support. Several of the festivals met the cost of the venue hire up to a specified value (e.g., ESRC FoSS, Oxford IF, BSF) and some venues offered other financial support with staging events/talks related to the exhibit. For example, the ESRC FoSS provided the funding to purchase art supplies for our children’s crafting workshop. Many festivals/venues will also produce their own inhouse publicity and ticketing which can reduce marketing costs.

We employed a research assistant (RA) to curate the installation at the science and arts festivals, and at Millennium Point. The role of the RA was to engage with the public, answer questions about the research behind the installation and collate feedback for evaluation, including conducting some interviews. We found that having an RA on site at each exhibition produced higher rates of feedback forms being left by the public. Having a staff member present with the installation while it was on display to the public was also a health and safety requirement. The residency at Leamington Spa art gallery was curated by the gallery’s own staff and so did not incur costs for staffing (which would have been prohibitively expensive over a period of nearly nine months), however these staff did not have detailed knowledge of the research behind the installation.

We were fortunate to have the participation of several unpaid volunteers during the creation and curation of the installation, who took part because they wanted experience of public engagement, because they supported the project and wanted to help us achieve our aims, or simply out of curiosity. For example, our diverse ‘faces’ in the video display were all volunteers. Even though we did not pay for our volunteer’s time, we did allocate funds for some of their expenses (e.g., travel).

Our Budget Breakdown

Below are the costs for the I:DNA project. Some amendments were made to the original budget during the course of the project. For example, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some resources were re-allocated to filming and editing costs to produce additional online content. The craft and poetry workshops were added after additional (unspent travel) funds were made available from Felicity’s main research award. All changes to the allocation of costs were done with the agreement Wellcome.

Wellcome Enrichment bid for I:DNA build and tour (to 6 venues over 6 months)

Sub-contractor STAMP CIC - filming costs (including actors, crew, director, producer, editing)


Materials and equipment


Design and build, and purchase of hardware (screens monitors, audio, speakers etc)


Transportation & assembly costs (van hire, staff costs for 2 people to install/dismantle and their travel & subsistence)


Event costs


Travel and subsistence costs


Advertising materials & feedback forms


Curation and evaluation




As an example of the cost of putting on an event, below is an example budget from one of our events:

Venue hire


Transportation and assembly cost


Event photographer


Refreshments for opening event


Other costs miscellaneous costs (e.g. travel/parking, printing costs)