Memorials and remains of medical research in Africa: an anthropology of scientific landscapes, ruins and artefacts

Lead Research Organisation: London Sch of Hygiene and Trop Medicine
Department Name: Public Health and Policy

Abstract

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/I014535/1 01/07/2011 31/03/2013 £463,299
ES/I014535/2 Transfer ES/I014535/1 01/04/2013 31/10/2015 £249,782
 
Description Combining archival and ethnographic methods, we have focused on the material forms and practices of remembering (and forgetting) medical research around three medical research stations in Sub-Saharan Africa, examining ruination and renovation, living memory and amnesia, and memory work at sites in Cameroon, Senegal, and Tanzania.
Exploitation Route Our material archive and scholarly findings have been inserted into dialogue with heritage and science planning apparatus in host countries, as well as with artists based in Africa, Europe and North America.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

 
Description The "Memorials and Remains of Medical Research in Africa" ( MEREAF) project, was an ORA collaborative endeavour with colleagues in Cameroon, Tanzania, Senegal France and Holland, and its impact is best assessed collectively, including outputs realised across the three countries (and elsewhere). These outcomes underline the invaluable contribution of research links and funding across the European Union, for scholarly achievement as well as to enhance the academic and cultural reputation of the UK within a broader European collaborative enterprise in the arts and social sciences. From its onset, the MEREAF project, albeit fundamentally social anthropological and historical, sought to collaborate with artists and to include methodologies borrowed from art practice, in order to explore the affective and aesthetic dimensions of scientific work in Africa - and of its remains, traces and memories in the present - and to reach wider audiences. To this end, we conducted fieldwork jointly with visual and sound artists and architects, and collaborated with them in the subsequent preparation and presentation of the materials. BOOK The major cross disciplinary and wider-than-academic outcome of these efforts is the co-authored illustrated volume Traces of the Future (2016), which brings together academic and artistic output in a highly innovative and experimental fashion. Focusing heavily on visual materials, this book, engages broader-than-scholarly audiences. EXHIBITIONS The book has been and will be launched in conjunction with public exhibitions of artwork and research outcomes (sometimes combined with public workshops), under the title of the book. These include so far: • Litteraturhuset Oslo, Norway, 21 October 2016 • University of Oslo, atrium of the faculty of social sciences, winter 2016-17 • London, Bow Arts, Nunnery Gallery, January to March 2017 (in collaboration with Buckinghamshire University and Royal Holloway) • Paris, the venue to be decided, funding secured from CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) (together with an abridged French version of Traces) • Hamburg, MARKK (Museum of Anthropology), September 2019-April 2020. For this exhibition, curated by Geissler, the museum has engaged two additional African artists. • Dar es Salaam (National Museums of Tanzania), Mid-2020. Other exhibitions of artistic work related to MEREAF were • Dakar, Senegal, Mémoires en partage: Niakhar, un autre regard sur la recherche en Afrique, photography by Ashley Ouvrier, 2014 Moreover, MEREAF arranged a scholarly workshop on 'Forms of Freedom - the afterlife of modernist architecture in Africa', associated with an eponymous exhibition about African architecture at the National Museum for Architecture in Oslo, and the National Museums of Kenya. RADIO Another important way of presenting the affective and aesthetic dimensions of our research project, and to reach out to wider audiences were radio programmes, including: • Manton J (2015) Uzuakoli in music and medicine: a cultural history of leprosy in Nigeria. Resonance 104.4FM. May 15th, 2015 ( Podcast available on MixCloud (ResonanceFM). • Lachenal G (2014) L'Afrique est-elle nostalgique? Radio France Internationale, December 20th, 2014. • Gerrets, R. (2015) Amani treasure diggers. To be broadcast on programme 'OVT', Radio station NPO1 (Dutch national broadcaster), November 6th, 2016. (To be reproduced in German on Deutsche Welle). JOURNALISM Moreover, the project has triggered other nonacademic publications: • Rachel Nuwer, Full feature on BBC 'How an abandoned lab could show us the future' (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180523-the-decline-of-tanzanias-time-capsule-laboratory), May 2018 Evgenia Arbugaeva, Article on Amani, National Geographic, , December 2016. • Dennis Rijnvis (commissioned by NWO - Dutch Science Organisation), "Het Gouden Zaad: Hoe Nederland het monopolie op malariamedicijnen in handen kreeg." ExperimentNL: Wetenschap in Nederland, pp28-29, 21 Oktober 2016. • Rene Gerrets, Article on Amani treasure diggers, Vrij Nederland, November 2016 The project also engaged with the Ebola crisis, stressing the importance of engaging with echoes of the past in the recent crisis, in both scientific and national press publications: • G. Lachenal (2015) "Outbreak of Unknown Origin in the Tripoint Zone", Limn, n° 5 (special issue Ebola's ecologies). [epub] • G. Lachenal with Vinh Kim Nguyen, "Contre Ebola, e´vitons le ne´ocolonialisme", Le Monde, 20 octobre 2014. BLOGS The project also published on various blogs, including: • G. Lachenal, "Ebola. Chronique d'un film catastrophe bien prepare´", Libe´ration, 18 septembre 2014. Translation appeared on the blog Somatosphere: "Ebola 2014. Chronicle of a well-prepared disaster >>, http://somatosphere.net/2014/10/chronicle-of-a-well-prepared-disaster.html • G. Lachenal, Kin Porn, http://somatosphere.net/2013/01/kin-porn.html • Geissler, P.W., Kelly, A.H., Manton, J. The archaeology of past futures, or fieldwork by fragments http://somatosphere.net/2013/01/the-archaeology-of-past-futures-or-fieldwork-by-fragments-2.html • Kelly, A.H. & Brown H. Notes from Case Zero: Anthropology in the time of Ebola http://somatosphere.net/2014/09/notes-from-case-zero-anthropology-in-the-time-of-ebola.html • Kelly, A.H. Mosquito Huts; Wundercabinets and Social Models http://somatosphere.net/2008/09/mosquito-huts-wundercabinets-and-social.html COMMEMORATION Finally, MEREAF organised a number of commemorative events, mainly in the African host countries of the project, addressing nonacademic audiences and promoting the project's findings: • Witness Seminar Amani, Cambridge, August 2013 (co-funded by Wellcome Trust) • Commemoration of Niahar Station, Dakar, Senegal, 2014 (publication With MEREAF chapters: Delaunay, V., Desclaux, A. and Sokhna, C. eds. Niakhar: 50 ans de recherche en partenariat au Se´ne´gal (Paris: Editions IRD, 2016) • Commemorative seminar Amani, Amani, April 2015 (co-funded by Wellcome Trust)(proceedings in preparation) • Commemorative activities in Cameroon (Ayos) and Senegal (Niakhar) • Community dissemination of findings in Cameroon (Ayos, 2014, Yaoundé 2015) Overall, the collaborators in the MEREAF project have disseminated their findings broadly to academic and nonacademic audiences, with particular emphasis on creating an understanding of the affective and aesthetic dimensions of scientific enquiry - as well as of the remains and ruins of past scientific enquiries - and to interrogate issues of equity and ethics in transnational medical research partnerships, as well as to provide grounding for heritage and cultural work on memory of the late colonial and postcolonial state and its services and enterprises.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Healthcare,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Medical Humanities Wellcome Trust Small Grant
Amount £4,977 (GBP)
Funding ID 106542/Z/14/Z 
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2015 
End 09/2016
 
Description UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), Pump- Priming Grant
Amount £83,847 (GBP)
Funding ID AV/PP0027/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 04/2020
 
Description British Academy International Partnership with IFRA-Nigeria 
Organisation French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) - Nigeria
Country Nigeria 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Dr. Manton conceived this partnership, together with Dr Gerard Chouin, Director of IFRA-Nigeria, in order to extend African participation in the thematic, conceptual, and resource/archival strands of the Memorials and Remains of Scientific Research In Africa grant. Dr. Manton successfully applied for British Academy funding to convene a set of research proposal development networks and a fieldwork grant award scheme for Nigeria-based scholars.
Collaborator Contribution IFRA-Nigeria provided logistical, administrative and financial support, and convened peer review for assessment of the proposals and fieldwork reports stemming from the partnership.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: African History; History of Medicine; Anthropology Three proposal development Workshops (2011, 2012, 2013) held at major Nigerian universities (Zaria, Nsukka, Ibadan) in each of the main geopolitical zones of Nigeria, with a total of 36 participants, selected from almost 50 applicants. 13 fieldwork grants awarded; 13 reports submitted, with outputs currently under review for publication by the African Studies Centre, Leiden
Start Year 2011
 
Description Building Social Scientific Capacity at Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), Africa's preeminent institute for Global Health Research & Development 
Organisation Ifakara Health Institute
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution With seed funding from the King's College London Faculty Research Fund, I am coordinating a series of workshops to develop a collaboration between the Faculty of Global Affairs and the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), the preeminent medical research institution in Tanzania. IHI conducts world-leading research on tropical infectious diseases and is a centre of excellence in several areas of global health science and policy. IHI's current strategy emphasizes enhancing communication and engagement with the communities that participate and stand to benefit from IHI research initiatives. With colleagues at the KCL Policy Institute and Geography, we seek to help realise that vision by integrating a social scientific agenda across IHI's thematic groups and research priorities. Building upon more than a decade of collaborative research between myself and researchers at IHI, specifically with the Director of Science at IHI (Fredros Okumu), our ambition through this partnership will be to integrate critical social science research across their research initiatives. Specifically, this project seeks to (a) strengthen public engagement activities at the IHI, (b) expand the collaborative potential of global health research activities across KCL Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy, and (c) enhance the local policy and practice impact of IHI's research findings and the international scope and relevance of research activities undertaken in SSPP.
Collaborator Contribution We have identified and applied for funding to support further collaborations, including a successful BBSRC-GCRF Networks bid, out which has developed a £15M GCRF Hub bid on Symbiots for vector control, which has been shortlisted. We are also put in a proposal funding to conduct resaerch into Community-based management of water holding containers to decrease breeding habitats for Aedes aegypti in the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as part of a BOVA Network Pump Priming bid. Over the course of this year, we will run a series of workshops and programmes to identify potential students interested in social scientific and humanities work at the Institute. Our hope is build a sustaining program of activities, which will enhance the relationship between the institute and the surrounding communities.
Impact This is an interdisciplinary collaboration between biologists, disease ecologists, biomedical researchers, geographers and social scientists.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Co-ordinated workshop, Ethnographic Data as Epidemiological Evidence, at the Brocher Foundation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This meeting held at the Brocher foundation brought together epidemiologists, historians, anthropologists and public health experts to explore the empirical reach and relevance of anthropology in the context of epidemics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.brocher.ch/en/events/322/ethnographic-data-as-epidemiological-evidence/
 
Description Protective Atmospheres: A workshop with architects, entomologists and biosafety experts at the University of Portland 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a three day workshop to develop innovative design strategies and prototypes for investigative and associated facilities focused on the spread of Mosquito-borne diseases, bringing together entomologists, social scientists, architects and artists. The workshop was connected to a fall 2018 University of Oregon architectural design studio and has produced a number of prototypes of protected houses and facilities which we will be trialing in Tanzania.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://archenvironment.uoregon.edu/designing-most-dangerous-animal-mosquito
 
Description Street level health workers in six African cities-shifting geographies of work, responsibility and entitlement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Researchers and students presented ongoing work to a University wide audience. The discussant, Prof Doreen Massey, Open University, commented on all (pre-circulated) papers and opened for general discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Thinking with insects: entomological reflections on history, medicine and politics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop, held at London school of hygiene in May 2010, brought together international historians and anthropologists working on insects, and human insect interactions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Volunteers, the voluntary sector and voluntarism in Britain and Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop held at the London school of hygiene and the University of Cambridge in October 2011, brought together historians and anthropologists working on voluntarism in Britain and Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011