Delivering genuinely engaging and exciting public events is a crucial part of building up a people’s history of the NHS, and in driving forward the ‘Cultural History of the NHS’ project. We want to make sure that as many people as possible can contribute to this important work in interesting and meaningful ways, and across a variety of different platforms. Public engagement means more than just the dissemination of our research findings – we want you to help drive our research forward, and ensure that we provide the accessibility for you to truly participate in this project. This means that alongside the dedicated website we will be running events and activities across different venues and reaching out to different audiences. We will be starting with a number of more local events and workshop talks, and intend to expand these across central locations within the UK. We know that there is a genuine passion for the NHS, and we welcome the opportunity to translate that passion into an innovative and much-needed history of its origins, development, and meaning to the British public.
Upcoming at the moment we have workshop talks at the Leamington History Society (1st March) and at Keep Our NHS Public South Warwickshire branch, as well as a ‘Meet the Expert’ event at Thinktank Science Museum in Birmingham, in May/October. Here we will listen to local and national memories of the NHS, and talk about our plans for further events, activities and research on the project. Our very own Dr Roberta Bivins of course gave a talk at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick recently, at the ‘NHS Past and Futures’ event, and you can catch her again at Café Scientifique, Leamington on 18th July, discussing the role of the NHS in shaping health research in relation to the genetic blood disorders sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia. Meanwhile, we are currently organising ‘NHS Roadshow’ events at Hospital of St Cross in Rugby and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, where you will be able to bring along your NHS-related objects or just share your stories and memories of the NHS with members of our team, which will be a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the project and contribute to its goals.
Moving forward, we are planning an exhibition describing the project at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, where you can come and see visual material related to the history of the NHS and the project itself, as well as a larger exhibition planned for further along in the project. A special film screening event at Warwick Arts Centre is in preparation for the 70 year anniversary of the NHS in 2018, showing NHS-related comedies, documentaries and dramas, with a potential talk to accompany the film run. These are just a few of our ideas in the early planning stages, so do get in touch if you have any kind of group you would like us to visit, or indeed any ideas for further events and activities – we are open to your suggestions and are keen to make sure that everyone is as involved as possible and engaging with this important and heart-felt work.