Unkindest Cut

Evaluating an interdisciplinary science and arts project which explores the theme of young people's mental health.

Mental health problems are becoming an increasing concern, with 1 in 10 young people reported as experiencing a mental health condition. In an effort to raise positive discourse about mental health, Unkindest Cut has been developed as a classical Indian dance performance and audio-visual installation touring science festivals over winter 2018-2019.

Unkindest Cut is a collaborative project, developed by Sadhana Dance in association with Consultant Adolescent Psychiatrist, Dr Partha Banerjea and the South London and Maudsley Adolescent Mental Health Services. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England, the installation and performances take place in a shipping container hosted by six UK science festivals in 2018 and 2019. While reaching larger audiences, this approach also provides an opportunity for reflective practice and improved networking for science festival organisers. The role of the Science Communication Unit is to evaluate the impact of the project, both from the perspectives of the audience members and from the festival organisers.

The project lead is Dr Dane Comerford, Festival Director at IF Oxford, and leading the project evaluation is the Science Communication Unit's Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, also working with team member Lucy Yeomans.