Humanities gives platform for public health films | University of Oxford
A still from Unborn
A still from Unborn

Humanities gives platform for public health films

Matt Pickles

Forget Cannes, move over Sundance. The Radcliffe Humanities building will host a film festival on public health next week.

The Public Health Film Festival, which will take place on Friday 27, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June, has been organised by public health students and practitioners from Oxford.

Through the medium of film, the organisers aim to facilitate discussion and debate about the big public health issues of the day and provide a springboard for action to reduce poverty, improve social inclusion, and provide advocacy for marginalised communities.

The Oxford Centre for Research in the Humanities (TORCH) is hosting several screenings and sponsoring a prize, along with the Nuffield Department of Population Health. TORCH's director Dr Stephen Tuck says: 'We are delighted to support the Public Health Film Festival. It demonstrates how arts and sciences can work together for the public good, by using techniques of film and advocacy - which are more often associated with the arts - to support scientific, evidence-based cases for reform to public health policies.'

One of the films, Unborn, is shown below. Directed and produced by Dr Oliver Rivero, senior health economist at Oxford's National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, it shows a young woman who suffered a miscarriage dealing with feelings of sadness and self-blame when she sees a happy mother with her baby in a park.

Another film that will be shown, called 'Sea of change: Walking into trouble', has been used for advocacy for the partially sighted and blind at Number 10 Downing Street and the House of Lords.

Sarah Gayton, who made the film to support her campaign, says: 'I decided to use to film as I thought this way the people in charge of the safety of the public could see first-hand the negative impact this road system was having on the blind and partially sighted people of the UK.'

Dr Stella Botchway, a Public Health Speciality Registrar in Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Population Health and organiser of the Public Health Film Festival, says: 'Public health in the UK and around the world is the key issue of our time. Diet, social inequality, the global economy, the control of infectious diseases and climate change are just a few of the challenges facing public health experts.  

'The Public Health Film Festival passionately believes that both film and public health have the ability to change people’s lives, which is why we have brought these two disciplines together in order to inform and inspire the public.'

A full schedule of events can be found on the Public Health Film Festival’s website. Screenings and talks will take place in Radcliffe Humanities on Woodstock Road and the Phoenix Picturehouse on Walton Street.