Social Responsibility


Manchester medical students at the B!RTH festival at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 10:13:00 GMT

Medical students from the University played a unique role in the B!RTH theatre festival – a series of theatrical events and debates through a partnership between the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Oglesby Charitable Trust.

B!RTH shone a spotlight on global childbirth inequalities – an area which fits with the University's research beacon for addressing global inequalities.

Through an interactive workshop, students took the audience through the entire birth process using educational mannequins. This was followed by a student-run session on the potential complications that can occur during childbirth and the different outcomes for women depending on where they live. Finally, historical developments in delivery of babies were demonstrated using objects from the University’s Museum of Medicine and Health.

Led by Professor Mahesh Nirmalan (Vice Dean for Social Responsibility and Public Engagement, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health) and mentored by Dr Ken Ma (Obstetrics and Gynaecology Doctor, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), Clarissa Hemmingsen (Medical Student and President of the Manchester Global health Society) and Nikhita Handa (University of Manchester Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society) provided student leadership to create an incredibly informative and enjoyable public event.

Participants said: "This was a great way for students to share their knowledge together with hearing profound personal stories from the audience; it provided a perfect mix of expertise and lived experience."

Prof. Nirmalan said: "The B!RTH festival provided a unique opportunity to use art and theatre as a medium for communicating health messages that have national and international ramifications. The contributions made by the Manchester students enhanced the credibility of this event."

Clarissa said: "The B!RTH Festival was a unique opportunity for the Global Health Society to engage the public with medicine, education and the arts. Revealing advances in obstetric medicine right from the 1600s. It allowed discovery and discussion on what this means for mothers, their children and families in the UK and abroad, highlighting global inequalities in access to healthcare as a vital injustice requiring acknowledgement and immediate action."

Nikhita said: "The event gave the students a deeper understanding of how fortunate we are in this country to have so many birth choices. From speaking to the public about their experiences and exploring the plays we see the international inequalities and would strive in our future careers to help bridge this gap."

Partnering with The University of Manchester B!RTH also involved academics from humanitarian areas of the University. In addition to Professor Mahesh Nirmalan has received support from Professors Mukesh Kapila, Tony Redmond, David Hulme and Dame Tina Lavender, and Dr Carol Bedwell as well as the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. B!RTH has commissioned seven plays by seven leading female playwrights from across the globe.

B!RTH took place at The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester from 19-22 October, 2016. The plays are available for free download for use anywhere in the world. Read more about the addressing global inequalities research beacon on our website.

Contact us

Connect with us

  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • YouTube icon
  • Tumblr icon