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WEH team at the Oxford IF Festival

The Public Engagement team at the WEH, regularly collaborate and present at various national and local festivals, including the national Being Human Festival and the IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival.

Panel discussion at the Familial Fortunes event.

Familial Fortunes: what do you really want to know about your child's DNA? Modern Art Oxford and Online, Being Human, Nov 2021

Advances in science mean that we will soon be able to screen every new born baby to discover a range of potentially life changing facts about their DNA. Would you want to know the chances of your child getting various diseases in later life? How certain should this information be before you are told? Would this knowledge affect your life choices, or what you would share with your family?

In this free interactive event, hosted by Vivienne Parry, three experts discussed these complex ethical issues using real world case studies.

Exhibition poster boards with title 'Artificial intelligence under the microscope'.

Digitising disease, Francis Mckay and National Pathology Imaging Co-operative, Oxford County council Library, IF OXFORD Festival OF SCIENCE AND IDEAS, Oct 2021

How do you feel about using A.I. to manage and assess personal data? This exhibition placed Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) under the microscope. As a tool for disease diagnosis and treatment, artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly valuable. It explored the role and future possibilities of improving healthcare with A.I., using real examples, striking images and questions posed by patients.

Panel discussion at Inherited Secrets event.

Inherited Secrets: What do you really want to know about your DNA? Being Human Festival, Nov 2019

Advances in science mean that we can now discover a range of potentially life changing facts about our DNA. Would you want to know your chances of getting various diseases in later life? If you did know, would it affect your life choices? Or would you want to share this information with your genetically related family, who then also face similar dilemmas? In this event, three experts discussed these complex ethical issues and how such scientific advances can have immense repercussions for healthcare choices, family relationships and how we choose to live our lives.

Child decorating a gnome at 'Make Your Own ‘G’nome' event.


You may have heard of a ‘genome’, but have you ever heard of a ‘g’nome!? Come and meet our researchers who study the reasons why we should or shouldn’t change our DNA. Have a go at making your own ‘g’nome and learn about what makes us each unique.

This event involved a game developed by a team at the WEH, where public participants visiting the stall were encouraged to ‘design’ and paint their own ceramic gnomes according to the rules of the game. It took place at the IF Oxford Science and Ideas festival inside Oxford’s main central shopping centre, with the aim of encouraging conversation and debate around the ethics of genome editing. The majority of people taking part were children and their families.


Panel and audience at 'In Our Blood' event.

In Our Blood: is it our social responsibility to vaccinate? IF OXFORD Festival of Science and Ideas, Oct 2019

Vaccination has eradicated various deadly diseases from our world and saved millions of lives; but why do some people still refuse to vaccinate? This event explored how medicine, ethics, history and social science, can encourage wider debate and a better understanding of the role vaccination plays in improving global human health. In this one-off event, we invited the public to hear four views on vaccination and pose their own questions and thoughts. We then evaluated any evidence of opinion shifts with regards to vaccine mandates, as a result of attending the event.


Illustration of a human skull with a teacup.

Death at Teatime, Being Human Festival, Nov 2019

The aim of this event was to encourage wider conversations around death and dying in the UK and overseas. Researchers from WEH discussed their work in medical history, classical archaeology, and contemporary medical ethics; through exploring both historical perspectives of death and bereavement, through to present day ethical dilemmas. The different research areas were set up as ‘stations’ around the room which people could drop in and out from as activities continued throughout the afternoon.