Monday, 1 March 2010

Multi-Sector Approaches to Pandemic Planning and Response:

A role for Arts and Culture?

The recent H5N1 and H1N1 viruses have raised our awareness that pandemics are not a myth of the distant past, but that they can quickly become concrete, actual threats to businesses, well-being and survival in multiple sectors across societies worldwide. What are the possible pandemic threats of the future and how can businesses, civil society and governments best prepare for these?

I’m shortly going to be exploring ideas around this agenda with the Asia/Europe Foundation and I’d be interested to hear your opinions on how the arts and cultural sectors may play a part in this agenda. It might be about social marketing, or communicating risk; or it could be about how health services engage with communities and how these communities in turn, inform new ways of working.

This round table discussion is an opportunity for us to discuss what role the arts and culture can potentially play in this agenda.

If you would like to take part in this discussion please email me to register for a place ASAP.

Date: Tuesday 16th March
Time: 17:00 – 19:00
Venue: The Righton Building at MMU (see link below)

PLACES ARE STRICTLY LIMITED; RSVP as soon as possible to:

1 comment:

  1. At this discussion around multi-sectoral approaches to pandemic planning, we discussed the notion of arts/cultural activity that ties into 'word of mouth' and is 'spread' by the 'cultural carriers of communities'. We all seemed to agree that if there is a clear definition of what 'pandemic' is and how 'risk is communicated’; we don’t have a clear and unequivocal picture.

    The work that Peter Sutton in Design Lab had researched seemed to illuminate a number of current media approaches including; using a credible public figure to 'deliver' a message, which seemed to be loaded with 'fear' tactics. The graphic and universal images he shared, offered a potential palette of 'communication tools' as did the language-heavy video clip of a house being blown down.

    We agreed that 'universal' and 'word neutral' images might be interesting ways of exploring how risk is communicated, but prior to this communication, we need to explore how we can 'open peoples minds up to the possibility of things spreading' as part of the 'common human experience'. This, in the light of people potentially not taking a second pandemic warning seriously, presents challenges.

    On the basis of this conversation, I will attempt a number of things in the first ASEF workshop I am attending next week:

    Establish what other participants understand by the inclusion of the arts/culture in this forum

    Make clear the differences and synergies between Art and Design in relationship to this agenda

    Explore metaphor as a useful universal way of expressing the human condition and opening up diverse channels of communication

    Posit a plan for immediate action around 'cultural carriers' establishing what global mechanisms exist and identifying partners.

    I do hope this begins to make sense of our conversation. I am very receptive to constructive criticism and if you feel any key points are missing, don't hesitate in adding to this discussion.