LSTM at Africa Oye

Blog 7 Jul 2023
Visitors and staff enjoying the activities on offer at Africa Oye

Hi everyone, I’m Clare Maher, Communications and Public Engagement Officer within LSTM’s External Relations Team. I am currently working on several events as part of the LSTM-Past, Present, and Future project which is being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

So recently we went to Sefton Park to highlight the work of LSTM at Africa Oya. This was my first time at the event both as a worker and a guest and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by both.

t helped, as always-, that the sun was shining and it really wasn’t overly warm on the Saturday, but firstly let me take you back to set up on the Friday. The team and I arrived at Sefton Park just after lunch to erect our new branded gazebo. We, thankfully, also had the help of two staff from estates – thanks lads. Set up was mostly quick and easy and we even had time to help our neighbours with their gazebo – they clearly hadn’t watched the YouTube tutorial that we had!!!

It wasn’t a super early start on the Saturday and I arrived around 10am to assist with setting up the rest of the stand, we had lights to put up, some examples of the work we do, activities for young and old and various tools to help us evaluate the weekend, we have to do this as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund and its useful for us to find out what types of things people like to see and do and also to find out where they have travelled from and what they thought. It can be difficult to engage people in these activities as they mostly want to enjoy what we have to offer but we had some lovely feedback.

We were lucky with the weather both days and the visitors to our stand was steady, we had 253 visitors on the Saturday and over 100 on the Sunday, which, given the weather forecast of rain and the fact that it was Father’s Day, made it a pretty good weekend overall, numbers wise.

Most people who visited the stand had a rough idea of what we do at the school, some wanted to know more, others wanted to share their stories either of relatives who had studied at the school or to ask advice on how best to treat mosquito bites!! We also had some more unusual requests, for example:

  • As we are ‘public health’ do we know where the free fillable water tap is – I didn’t.
  • Is it true that drinking lots of water will help with a kidney infection – yes, I believe it does.
  • Why are you here? – a little trickier to answer but we usually tell people that we are at these events to highlight the work of the school, to bring science into the community and to generally make people aware of some of the things we do that aren’t snake or mosquito related.

As always, our younger visitors enjoyed the colouring in activities and getting to draw their own bugs on our calico fabric pieces, which we will be stitching together at the end of the year to show a visual representation of our public engagement during our anniversary year. This is something I love to see people, young and old, getting involved in and as I have said before, there are so many talented artists out there.

We also had volunteers from across the school showcasing their projects, Priyanka Sharma was swabbing the soles of visitors' trainers to find out what might be lurking there as part of the swab and send project, and Christida Wastika bought along a beautifully colourful and interactive jigsaw featuring mosquitos that she had made herself, below

 Mosquito Jigsaw

We were fortunate on both days to have our artists join us with the pop up museum or Tropical Medicine Time Machine to give it its proper title, this was really popular with visitors and for those of you who didn’t manage to see it, this is an interactive piece using AI technology to bring to life the work and history of the School  telling the stories of the past and present  scientists.

The content of the pop-up museum detailed many aspects of LSTM’s archives and this visually enticing pop-up will travel across city venues (indoor and outdoor) taking LSTM's past and present stories directly to the communities we want to target and will be available to view at World Museum Liverpool from Saturday 12th August, so please do come along, take a look and get involved in some of our activities.