Radio documentary programme: We were commissioned to co-produce and present a programme drawing on our research to reflect on end-of-life issues. (‘Living Wills: What Would You Want?’). This discussed Advance Decisions to refuse particular medical treatments under specified conditions (for example, refusing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration if one were in a permanent vegetative state). The charity mentioned in the programme, ‘Compassion in Dying’, reported a doubling of the number of downloads of Advance Decision pro-formas from their website after the programme was broadcast. A second radio programme – ‘Coma Songs’ – using our research to explore the minimally conscious state through music and sound was broadcast in October 2014.
Influencing journalists and television representations: We regularly contribute to the media, and are consulted by journalists reporting about contemporary science stories and court cases (about which we also blog). We are currently creating an online resource for journalists to help resource more informed reporting. We presented a Royal Television Society/JOMEC event reporting on the negative impact misrepresentations of coma can have, and are now in discussion with Erika Hossington (Series Producer, Casualty, BBC ) about a possible storyline for the soap opera.
Impact on popular culture: We have also discussed our findings with other producers of popular culture including, for example, games designers (‘coma’ being one feature in some games) and novelists. Read here about the impact Belinda Bauer describes our research as having had on her award-winning book: “Rubbernecker” and how it changed the character and narrative of the novel.
Public events – book readings, poetries and post film panel discussion: We regularly talk at, and organise, public engagement events – such as poetry and book readings, panel debates and post-film discussions (see ‘News’).
Three members of CDOC at a public book discussion.
Festivals: We have also curated two major festivals – these are the ‘Before I Die’ festivals organised in Cardiff in 2013, and York in May 2014 involving multiple events (drama, film, poetry, music, exhibitions and public engagement panels). Here is a short film about the ‘Before I Die’ festivals.
Exhibitions about coma: we have curated a touring exhibition of art and theatre all inspired by interviews with families about their experiences of having a relative in a vegetative or minimally conscious state – you can learn more about the exhibition here (and contact us if you are interested in hosting such an event)
Film: We produced a short YouTube film designed to introduce some of the key strands of our work – and also to portray more realistic representations of ‘coma’ – challenging the misleading ‘sleeping beauty’ images so often used in the media. We developed this film working with three actors, and producer Patrick Titley, with assistance from Lisa Burch, in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York. You can view the film on the front page of our website (scroll down to the bottom). We have also written a reflection about the challenges of making such a film, especially the dilemmas in representing the ‘comatose’ and minimally conscious patient, which you can read here.