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Science Stroke Art 2014: highlighting stroke through science and art

23 Apr 2014

The Stroke Association has teamed up with leading researchers from the University to run a series of innovative events in the city during Action on Stroke Month.

During May, Science Stroke Art 2014 aims to highlight stroke through the media of science and art. The programme of events will include interactive talks, music, theatre and live demonstrations, each designed to capture the public’s imagination and challenge misconceptions about the condition.

The month kicks off with a launch event for stroke survivors, health practitioners and those with an interest in stroke, at Manchester Town Hall on 1 May. Hosted by Dr. Chris Steele, GP and This Morning’s resident doctor, the evening will mix music, poetry and visual art with short talks about stroke research and the latest in stroke treatment.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester and a world-renowned expert on stroke, will discuss the work of scientists at the University, while Professor Tony Rudd CBE, National Clinical Director for Stroke, NHS England, will debate the changing face of stroke medicine.

They will be joined by poet Mike Garry, who will perform and discuss his personal experience of stroke, after his father had a stroke when Mike was just five years old. Stroke survivors Mark Ware MFA, Pieter Egriega and Andy McCann will also share their own stories of life after stroke.

During the rest of May, cultural organisations, such as Contact, Manchester Museum and The John Rylands Library, will host interactive events to raise awareness of stroke. The public can visit events including a human library and story-telling session with stroke survivors at The John Rylands Library, a performance at the Contact Theatre by stroke survivor Peggy Shaw, and Professor Stuart Allan, from the Faculty of Life Sciences will run a pop up workshop at the Museum of Science & Industry, to help demonstrate the impact of stroke on the brain.

Scientists including Professor Allan, Dr Erinma Ochu, in the Faculty of Life Sciences, have met with organisers to devise the event and academics from the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences including Professor Pippa Tyrell, Chair in Stroke Medicine, and Professor Simon Ray¸ from the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, have also worked on awareness raising events - both hosting a visit with stroke survivor and blogger Becky Beaumont to talk about their work.

Staff from Humanities have also teamed up to help the public can visit events including a human library and story-telling session with stroke survivors at John Rylands Library and under the umbrella of its 2014 theme “Queer Anatomies”, the 7th Annual Sexuality Summer School (SSS) brings to Manchester a group of internationally renowned scholars and artists for a programme including RUFF, renowned performer Peggy Shaw’s show about her experience of having a stroke.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “The University is thrilled to be working with the Stroke Association on this series of events, which we hope will entertain and enlighten the public about a very serious condition. There are a wealth of connections between science and the arts, and as a scientist, I hope this series of events will help me and my fellow colleagues in the stroke community see the condition in a new light.”

Chris Larkin, Regional Head of Operations from the Stroke Association said: “Stroke is one of the greatest health challenges of our time but doesn’t get the attention or funding it deserves. Far too many people don’t understand it or think it’ll ever happen to them. Science Stroke Art 2014 aims to help overcome this challenge by raising awareness of stroke through an engaging programme of events, all taking place throughout Action on Stroke Month.”

During Action on Stroke Month, the Stroke Association will be raising awareness of TIA (or transient ischaemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke). A TIA is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms last for a short amount of time and no longer than 24 hours. Just like a stroke, a TIA is a medical emergency.

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