Beyond Resistance

Beyond Resistance is a network established by anthropologist Iona Walker from the Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology (EdCMA) to explore Anti Microbial Resistance through the social sciences, art and science in association with Atelier and Edinburgh Infectious Diseases (EID) and in collaboration with ASCUS Art & Science. To launch the Beyond Resistance Network, ASCUS Lab will be hosting a workshop exploring antimicrobial resistance through interdisciplinary discussion and hands-on creative experimentation, combining the knowledge of scientists, artists, anthropologists and other researchers to reframe our relationship with microbes in a way that goes beyond killing them.


Beyond Resistance
13:30-16:00, Friday 24th August 2018

Antimicrobial resistance is an issue that will impact on our lives, from the medicines we take to the food we eat. Antibiotics are becoming less effective, bacteria more resistant and with no miracle drug on the horizon, the age of controlling the tiny organisms that live on and amongst us has long passed – if it was ever here at all.

However, all is not lost. As we learn that our bodies are mainly comprised of viruses, bacteria and fungi we begin to pay attention to the ways that these tiny non-human others are integral for our own survival.

We tried to ‘fight’ infection, but war is never the ideal solution. We need a new one.

Beyond Resistance brings together people who are asking the same questions in different ways. By sharing knowledge, building relationships and working collaboratively, the network wants to reframe our relationship with microbes, asking how we can live ‘beyond resistance’.

To facilitate discussion and encourage imaginative thinking, the workshop will place emphasis on creative practice, exploring bioluminescent bacteria and everyday microbial agents such as ginger, bleach, turmeric and soap, we will create images to explore resistance for ourselves.

Opportunity Details

13:30 – 16:00, Friday 24th August 2018
(Please arrive 10/15mins before the start time as we will begin promptly at the advertised time)
ASCUS Lab, Summerhall
Apply Here – Deadline is 16th August.
For this event we are hoping to have a variety of people from a range of disciplines. To ensure a balance of voices in the discussion, please fill in the form to let us know more about you. Please note that filling in the form does not guarantee a space.

Confirmed Participants

Iona Walker
Iona Walker is a medical anthropologist interested in how it might be possible to “love each other less violently”. Her current research investigates HIV in contemporary Russia. She is inspired by mushrooms, particularly their ability to draw attention to the symbiotic, unexpected and patchy worlds that we inhabit. It is this fascination that has led her off the path and into exploring human-microbe relations. If these tiny nonhumans are here to stay (they are) then how can we live amongst them without relying on tired military solutions (antibiotics)?

Ian Harper

Ian Harper
Ian Harper is a trained medical practitioner who has worked in hospital medicine and general practice in the UK. For three and a half years he managed a tuberculosis control project in Nepal, and for two years worked with NGOs throughout India in supporting community health programmes. From 2012 he is the recipient of a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Grant for the project: Understanding TB Control: Technologies, Ethics and Programmes. Ian also runs the Contagion course at the University of Edinburgh which investigates fear, migration, the state, globalisation and trade, the rise of magic bullets and antibiotics, the part of the laboratory and modern diagnostics, and art in both the way that infections have moulded culture, and our responses to this.

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