Hanging in the Air

Borough of Newham
London, United Kingdom

The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) has doubled in London over the last 20 years, accounting for 39% of all new infections in England and Wales in 2007. The London boroughs of Brent and Newham report the highest rates of TB in the city, making the control of this dangerous disease within the largely immigrant-based and economically vulnerable communities of these boroughs a serious priority. However, control efforts have been hampered by the high prevalence of TB risk factors, like poorly ventilated, damp, and overcrowded housing conditions. These factors, combined with high levels of poverty and isolation, create an environment ripe for the persistence of this deadly infection.

To address the complex challenges of TB control in Newham, the recently completed Hanging in the Air project aimed to increase awareness among students about the basics of tuberculosis transmission and its relationship to living conditions.

In 2013 and 2014, 540 students between the ages of 11-16 years old attended Hanging in the Air workshops held in two secondary schools in Newham. At these workshops students participated in interactive lessons about TB and environmental risk factors for the disease. The students then applied these concepts to real life scenarios by analysing the design and condition of homes and schools within their own communities.

After a short orientation to filmmaking by Flexible Films, 17 students shot and edited 3 different films that addressed TB myths and facts, possible strategies to avoid infection, and the importance of early testing and treatment. Excited to show off their hard work, the videos were posted on the schools’ and HealthWorks’ websites, as well as on Youtube. All students were encouraged to shared their work with family and friends. This allowed for these important messages about TB transmission and strategies for prevention to be more broadly shared within vulnerable communities in Newham.

Hanging in the Air was funded by ARCHIVE UK, and delivered in partnership with Health Works in London.

archiveglobalHanging in the Air