Public engagement at Leeds shines at national award ceremony

The Don’t Smile COHESION Pilot Project won the Engaging Young People Award at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s 2016 Engage Awards.

Described by Lisa Jamieson, Head of Engaging Science at the Wellcome Trust, as “one of the most successful and high quality projects in the Wellcome Trust’s Engaging Science portfolio”, the project developed a collaborative pilot theatre production and debate about oral and dental health.

Staff and students from the Schools of Dentistry and of Performance and Cultural Industries worked alongside the nationally-acclaimed Theatre of Debate and patient advisors. The play, Don’t Smile, was a love story with a dental theme, performed to schoolchildren.

The play and follow-up debates aimed to increase awareness of the genetic condition Amelogenesis imperfecta and to highlight the pioneering new treatments being developed in the School of Dentistry.  It was also used to get across some more day-to-day public oral health messages.

Audience feedback and surveys have enabled the dental students involved to shape the research design for a clinical trial grant application.