by Gillian Mason
The performance of My Mind’s I to a full auditorium
HMRI Open Day is an annual event and this year the institute opened its doors to over 4000 community members on October 12th. It was the biggest Open Day yet!
Our Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) stall kept company with Uni of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury and the new Centre for Rehab Innovations. It was fabulous to have so many CRE members put their brains and brawn forward to showcase our work to the public. HMRI received excellent feedback from the public specifically about our research work and the interesting conversations they enjoyed with our stroke researchers. Gillian Mason facilitated a stroke research seminar in which Prof Neil Spratt presented on acute stroke treatments, Prof Michael Nilsson spoke to the public about what’s new in rehabilitation and how people can participate in stroke research via the stroke register. The seminar was interpreted in Auslan and will be available to watch online soon. The researchers and cast of My Mind’s I, a project that took a group of Newcastle stroke survivors through a 7-week playmaking process to explore stroke recovery, performed a special encore performance of their powerful play (more on that project here). The Conservatorium Brainwaves Stroke Choir performed to the crowds and enjoyed explaining to the public what they’ve learned about the benefits of choral singing after stroke.
Our stall had was themed “The Many Faces of Stroke” and with local artist Mell O’Dell’s striking banner, we facilitated conversations with the public about their perceptions around what ‘stroke’ looks like. We took the opportunity to discuss the invisible disabilities common in stroke, like fatigue, reduced memory, the effects of post-stroke stress, and more. The blood pressure machine and CRE researchers A/Prof Coralie English and Dr Gary Crowfoot got a workout on the ever-popular stroke risk checking station.
Huge thanks to the many contributing researchers (some of whom ran up and downstairs all day to continue experiments!) Dr Lin Ong, Dr Marina Illic, Dr Prajwal Gyawali, Wei Zhen Chow, Rachael Peak, Kim Perry-Rigg, Gillian Mason & Dr Tom Lillicrap.