DSC00006On Tuesday 5th August, a group of 14-18 year olds from across East London came together at Centre of the Cell  to present ‘Spores, Sores & Sickly Bugs’, an exciting new workshop for families about the medical history of the East End. Since October 2013 the group, who are part of Centre of the Cell’s Youth Membership, have been busy conducting research, developing their ideas and creating a set of hands-on workshop stations, resulting in a performance that is entertaining as well as educational.

Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund provided the young people with the opportunity to conduct research in a number of different and exciting ways. They visited the Royal London Hospital Museum and Archives, helped host a lecture on the history of drugs and even took a historical tour of Whitechapel to investigate its hidden medical mysteries. They also enjoyed training with the Head of Learning and Project Coordinator to develop practical workshop leading skills, and visited the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Wellcome Collection to find out more about medical and history collections and interpretation.

DSC00030As a result of their research, the young people selected four aspects of medical history they found particularly interesting, and each was used to create a station for the workshop: ‘Anaesthetics’, ‘Children & Disease’, ‘Equipment & Antisepsis’, and ‘Disease & the East End’. Scripts were written, props were made and presentations were rehearsed in time for testing the workshop with families from the local area at the Watney Market Idea Store. Some further refining resulted in stations that were fun and informative. Members of the audience, both young and old, left with a deepened understanding and enthusiasm for medical history. After delivering workshops onsite over the Easter 2014 school holidays, the team trained a new group of 14 – 18 year olds to deliver the workshop over the Summer 2014 school holidays.

IMG_2475Despite being a little nervous, the group delivered a fantastic workshop, leaving the young members of the project with a sense of accomplishment and pride. They described the experience as ‘challenging but so much fun’, and they all gained a deeper understanding of what is involved in organising event and working with a team, as well as developing their communication and presentation skills. They had to work together overcome issues such as time constraints and audience members talking over them, and as a result they developed new friendships and met a huge variety of people, which they described as ‘exciting and a completely unique experience’. The group can’t wait to repeat the show in the coming week: ‘Spores, Sores & Sickly Bugs’ will be delivered again at Centre of the Cell on Thursday 7th and Tuesday 12th August 2014.

To book a place for one of these workshops, please visit http://centreofthecell.eventbrite.co.uk/

To find out more about Centre of the Cell’s ‘Sores, Spores & Sickly Bugs’ project, and the read the website content the young people created, visit http://www.centreofthecell.org/centre/?page_id=352&ks=3.