The team were very pleased to run a number of engagement workshops recently, developed around the idea of Microbial Neighbouring. Developed with the support of the University of Southampton’s Public Engagement with Research Unit and the National Biofilms Innovation Centre, the workshops created a novel space for students and staff to consider the microbial life in, on and around them. We were very fortunate to be joined by artist and illustrator Sam Church, who scribed throughout some of the workshops and created the visual illustrations below.
The concept of neighbouring developed as an accessible way of considering the interactions of human and non-human life. It developed through initial public engagement workshops and through reflective writing undertaken by the team. It draws directly from the microbiological concept of ‘microbial communities’ and from geographical thinking about the practices that we undertake as neighbours. We believe that the idea of ‘more-than-human neighbouring’ can be a really useful tool for communicating with publics, as well as for new research on social-microbial challenges like pandemics. We have plans for a much larger project to explore some of these challenges through new research and engagement work. Do keep in touch to find out more.