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Engaging through the Creative Arts

FutureNeuro is delighted to use the powerful medium of the creative arts to communicate in new ways with new audiences about our research.

A Head with Harmony (September, 2023)

The brainchild of our dedicated PPI Panel Contributor, Colette Delahunt, this event blended science and music to engage the public and policymakers about the importance of diagnosing neurological conditions and the impact of involving patients throughout the research journey. Colette, a professional opera singer, shared her family’s personal journey to diagnosis for her son Sean, who received a genomic diagnosis for a rare form of epilepsy, from the FutureNeuro clinical genetics team. By aligning the recital with the ILAE International Epilepsy Congress (IEC) in September 2023, we show-cased our research to an audience including international clinicians, scientists, patient advocates, local patient groups, and the public. National media coverage helped to spark an open conversation on genetic epilepsies and helped to highlight the importance of making research accessible to the wider public.

A group photograph of the key people who led and delivered the 'A Head with Harmony' recital.

The soprano singer Colette Delahunt performing at the event.

The Wernicke’s Area  (October, 2022)

This powerful collaboration between Prof Mark Cunningham and artist Owen Boss draws on different media to communicate to the public the impact of seizures on a person’s life. Owen’s wife Debbie, who previously was a soprano singer, developed a tumour in the Wernicke’s Area of the brain which affects written and spoken word comprehension. The mixed media installation at Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), included recording of seizures provided by FutureNeuro neurophysiolgist Mark Cunnigham alongside large-scale custom-made fabric pieces representing brain activity. These were accompanied by mezzo-soprano singer, Rosie Middeton, who provided an interpretation of living with epilepsy based on Debbie’s seizure diaries. This was a pivotal moment for us, marking the very first time that FutureNeuro explored the media of art to make the complexity of epilepsy accessible to the wider public. 

We worked closely with the researcher, artist and IMMA to build complementary communications and achieve national impact that would help to build the FutureNeuro brand. The installation was featured in the Irish Times, and other outlets, and each social post received an engagement rate of over 50%. This was a watershed moment that helped us to explore more creative partnerships, and to reach audiences that might previously have been beyond our reach.

Emily Howard, composer, Prof Mark Cunningham, neurophysiologist, and Owen Boss, co-artistic director of ANU Productions, The three collaborated to create The Wernicke’s Area. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A part of the mixed media installation displayed at Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).