Fitting the message to the location: engaging adults with antimicrobial resistance in a World War 2 air raid shelter

Jane Brooks, Joanna Verran, Carol Haigh, Jonathan Butler, james redfern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are many different initiatives, global and local, designed to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and change audience behaviour. However, it is not possible to assess the impact of specific, small-scale events on national and international outcomes - although one might acknowledge some contribution to the individual and collective knowledge and experience-focused 'science capital' As with any research, in preparation for a public engagement event, it is important to identify aims, and appropriate methods whose results might help satisfy those aims. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to develop, deliver and evaluate an event designed to engage an adult audience with AMR.

The venue was a World War 2 air raid shelter, enabling comparison of the pre- and post-antibiotic eras via three different activity stations, focusing on nursing, the search for new antibiotics, and investigations into novel antimicrobials. The use of observers released the presenters from evaluation duties, enabling them to focus on their specific activities. Qualitative measures of audience engagement were combined with quantitative data.

The evaluation revealed that adult audiences can easily be absorbed into an activity- particularly if hands-on - after a brief introduction.

This research demonstrates that hands-on practical engagement with AMR can enable high level interaction and learning in an informal and enjoyable environment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Early online date31 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Adult Education; Antibiotics; Bacteriophages; Biofilms; Outreach; Public Engagement; Resistance; Soil


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