Imperial College London

School of Public Health at the Great Exhibition Road Festival 2023


Great Exhibition Road Festival

Staff and students from the School of Public Health were out in force for the Great Exhibition Road Festival showcasing a range of research.

The annual festival saw Great Exhibition Road turn into a vibrant celebration of science and arts. Visitors of all ages spent their weekend exploring stalls from Imperial College London, the Royal College of Music, Science Museum, V&A, Natural History Museum and other organisations in the area.

Staff and students from across the School of Public Health got involved in the fun too...

The Mohn Centre for Children's Health and WellbeingSCAMP and Mohn Centre staff at the Great Exhibition Road Festival

The Mohn Centre for Children’s Health and Wellbeing was established following a transformational gift from Marit Mohn to create a world-leading centre for children’s health and wellbeing in the School of Public Health.

The Centre is currently working with community groups for children, young people and their families to understand what health and wellbeing topics matter most to them. Visitors over the course of the day voted on which they thought would influence a child or young person’s health and wellbeing the most. From alcohol to climate change and digital technology to physical activity – we discussed it all!

The Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP)

SCAMP has been investigating the impact of screen time on mental health. Many concerned parents flocked to the stall to find out the implications of too much screen time on children.

Visitors, old and young, were encouraged to check their screen time and feed into live data collection during the festival. Surprisingly some adults spend just as much time on their device as younger people!

MRC Centre for Environment and Health and HPRUs

The MRC and HPRUs research focus on the study of the health effects of environmental hazards of major public health importance, such as air pollution, noise pollution, non-ionising radiation, high toxicity chemical pollutants, new hazards (microplastics, nanomaterials) and other agents. This work is not only of public health and scientific interest but also addresses questions of significant interest to the public and is often covered in the media.

The team engaged with GERF visitors in interactive ways to raise awareness about environmental pollutants, showcase their new research and the techniques they use to make new discoveries!

The WellHome Study 

WellHome study team at the Great Exhibition Road Festival

The WellHome study focuses on the air quality inside and outside of over 100 homes of children with asthma. WellHome researchers used an interactive game to highlight the sources of indoor air pollution. This provided an opportunity to start a conversation to raise awareness and understandings about indoor air pollution.

MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis

Pandemic potential game at the Great Exhibition Road FestivalFestival Fever is the stand of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, this year jointly run by the HPRU in Modelling and Health Economics, and the Jameel Institute.

The activities provide unique insight into the world of infectious disease, outbreaks and prevention. Visitors participated in interactive games to learn about pathogens, zoonotic diseases, how modelling contributes to understanding disease and help guide policy. The activities catered for all ages, including the chicken, pig and chimpanzee for the little ones, playing the top trump style card game called ‘pandemic potential’ to more advanced visualisation of different parameters creating your own outbreak on a big screen, there was something to do for all.

Visitor feedback was extremely positive. The avera age of our visitors this year was 22 years (11 years for children (4-17, n=26) and 34 years for adults (19-71 years, n=33)). Half of the visitors did not know who was a researcher (53%, n=32), and only 5 visitors (8%) knew someone who worked at the MRC Centre, HPRU or JI. All visitors enjoyed the stand (100%) and scored our activities either a 4 (7%) or 5 (93%) out of 5. A few highlighted quotes on what visitors enjoyed most or learned at the stand: “vaccination is safe”, “severity of different pathogens”, “comparison between diseases”, “the danger of fungus”, “the chicken”. A few highlighted quotes on what we can do better: “nothing, everything was good”, “I love the cards”, “keep it up”, “it was an amazing presentation”, “make it monthly”.

Dr Lindsay Dewa & Nexus

Dr Lindsay Dewa and the Nexu filming screening

We showed Nexus to a brand-new group of public members at the Great Exhibition Road Festival over the 17th/18th June weekend. Nexus is a short film drama about the impact of Covid-19 on young people's mental health. Eating related coping strategies, and the importance of social connection are featured. Whilst the topic is hugely important, the way we made the film is equally important. We worked together with young people with lived experience across all film stages - from deciding what the film was going to be about, to writing the script, to casting, to editing and even acting in the film! A world first!

The Nexus screening at the GERF was a huge success. Two of the young people with co-produced the film with me and the film director attended the festival and helped facilitate the event. Following positive feedback from the public we then engaged with them to inform our next film. This involved discussion about their own experiences of Covid, and their wellbeing, as well as where, and what the film should lead to. Everyone wrote some insights on post it notes and by the end of the weekend we had a huge range of thoughts on our glass window! We will now work together with InnerEye Productions and the four young co-producers to create themes from the post-it notes, to decide on the focus for our next film!

The healthy habit superheroes

Undergraduate Education team at the Great Exhibition Road Festival

The team from the Undergraduate Primary Care Education team and Medical Education Innovation and Research Centre (MEdIC) asked attendees to design a spectacular superhero that promotes healthy habits to add to our festival collage. Heroes might focus on healthy foods, exercise ideas, ways to look after your body and mind, or even keeping the environment clean. Big, bold and creative ideas were encouraged!

Attendees also shared ideas on our ‘top tips’ board, exploring what helps you to build a healthy habit, what might get in the way and how to overcome barriers.

The contributions will now be used to further develop our training for medical students at Imperial College London, helping them to better understand the health priorities of communities near the Imperial College London campuses. 


Jack Stewart

Jack Stewart
School of Public Health

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