We were delighted to be part of the first Wellcome-funded medical humanities conference in Zomba, Malawi. The conference attracted scholars from around Africa and the world. It was a highly interdisciplinary event, with topics ranging from drama and arts-based health interventions, malaria controls in the lower Shire, the history of tsetse fly prevention, art murals from Dedza hospitals, indigenous perspectives in the social science teaching, the effects of globalisation on Malawian herbal clinics to the prevention of violence against persons living with albinism.
Art and Global Health Center played a very active role in showcasing participatory arts at the conference. On the first day, we screened the Make Art Stop AIDS (MASA) short film, with actors from the film there in person to share their stories and transition to a live performance. On the second, we hosted a 'creative space' to facilitate creative interaction between delegates, and share ideas on the Ideas Tree that ran throughout the conference. On the final day, the Mpwelembwesu community drama club showcased a participatory drama performance using techniques they were trained in through our Theatre for Healthy Living project.
We were really pleased to work with Wellcome Trust funded scholar Dr Chisomo Kalinga from the University of Edinburgh, Chancellor College, and other partners on this conference, and are excited by the learning and connections that came from the conference.