People who live north of the Tyne are being invited to help shape the future of health research in the North East by taking part in a new interactive, online experience called Multiverse Lab which aims to gather the opinions of 2,000 people about what matters to them when it comes to their health. Visitors will be encouraged to add their voice by recording a message that will be shared with researchers and decision-makers to shape future health research in the region.
Multiverse Lab has been created by Newcastle-based Unfolding Theatre which developed a similar project in 2018 called Multiverse Arcade, part of the Great Exhibition of the North. Multiverse Arcade inspired 20,000 young people to think about the future and provided a platform for them to highlight the change they wanted to see in the world.
The project has been commissioned by VOICE, The National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Newcastle University and The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Many of the commissioning partners are leading ground-breaking and innovative research bodies that are making life better for people living in the North East and beyond. This includes the work of Professor Roy Taylor; whose study into a low-calorie diet approach and its ability to put Type 2 diabetes in remission is informing new treatments for Type 2 diabetes patients. Most recently, NIHR Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative has been involved in national research efforts to accelerate how quickly promising Covid-19 diagnostics make it into real-world use.
Involved in the presentation of the project are North East musicians and performers, including Kay Greyson, Umar Butt, EJ Raymond (BSL interpreter) and Tony Neilson, who act as online Guides. The creative team includes designer Imogen Cloet and Teesside-based digital production developers TUCan Studios.
“Now more than ever we need to find ways to involve the public in health research so that it responds to our health needs,” Professor Lynne Corner, Director of Engagement, UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University said. “The pandemic has brought health inequalities in our local communities into sharp focus. Multiverse Lab is one of a number of ways we are reaching out to individuals and community groups to ensure health research responds to everyone’s health needs and interests.”
“The North of Tyne is home to world-class scientific research that has been helping to improve physical health and wellbeing of the population for many years. We are delighted that Multiverse Lab is able to celebrate and highlight the awe-inspiring efforts of our local scientists and researchers who have committed their lives to advancing healthcare for us all.”
“We hope the people that take part in Multiverse Lab will not only enjoy the experience but also sign up to VOICE (a network of people across the UK interested in supporting health research) and join us in delivering local health research that makes a difference to all our health and wellbeing.”
“Multiverse Lab has been an exciting project for Unfolding Theatre,” Annie Rigby, Artistic Director of Unfolding Theatre, added. “We were delighted to explore how the approach we developed in Multiverse Arcade could be adapted to gather people’s opinions about health research and have real impact. We are acutely aware of the health inequalities that exist in the North East. It is great to be part of a project that seeks to make under-represented voices heard and address the health issues that matter most to our communities.”