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Cultural Documents of Foot and Mouth (FMD)

Conference and exhibition Manchester Town Hall, 14 - 16 March 2006.

Imaging Pandemics: Areviewofthe social, health,veterinary,cultural

and scientific records of the2001FMD outbreak in Britain.

Conference programme

Tuesday 14th March, 2006In the Public Interest?

Reviewing the records of the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak;

understandingthe social, environmental and cultural impact of FMD

10 am  1.00 pm Conference registration and exhibitions open at Manchester Town Hall

12.30 pm Official opening of the 'Cultural Documents of FMD' exhibition at the Holden Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University.

2 pm: Introduction and an overview of the 2001 FMD outbreak. Presentation by David Black, veterinary surgeon Paragon Veterinary Group, Cumbria, and Chris Chapman film maker and photographer Devon, Chair, Chair Professor Sheila Crispin Visiting Professorial Fellow, The School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol. 4.00pm Panel discussion:In the Public Interest; documenting, archiving and communicating the experiences of FMD five years on.

7.30 pm Evening Public forum: Documenting a Rural Crisis:

re-thinking rural documentary and landscape photography after FMD

Shaping media and public perceptions of the 2001 FMD outbreak: How photographers, artists, and the media recorded and documented the 2001 FMD outbreak; articulating the ethical and animal welfare issues involved and informing and widening the public debate about FMD and pandemics.

Wednesday, 15th March Learning from the past?

Pandemics and society; Rural Health perspectives, and

voicing the community and individual experiences of FMD.

10 am: Bearing witness:the iconography and documentary records of pandemics; acknowledging community and individual experiences of FMD.Presentations and first hand accounts by some of those directly involved in documenting and dealing with the 2001 FMD outbreak; presentation by farming and rural leaders, rural businesses, vets, artists and medical practitioners.

2 pm: FMD and Rural Health: coping with pandemics and understanding the psychological trauma and emotional impact on communities.'The health and social consequences of the 2001 UK Foot and Mouth Epidemic'.Dr Maggie Mort, Director Institute of Health Research, University of Lancaster. Other speakers to be confirmed. Followed by a panel discussion

7.30 pm.Keynote presentation and Evening public forum (Town Hall)


A manifesto for global livestock epidemic disease eradication in our lifetimes. 

Dr Roger Breeze, Centaur Science Group, Washington DC. Former USDA advisor on FMD and an expert on Agro-Terrorism, Dr Breeze is currently Chief Scientist to the Defense Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency(DTRA).

"Why exactly does society tolerate the deleterious effects of FMD, classical swine fever, Rinderpest and other major plagues of the world's livestock? It is not for lack of technology to eliminate them. The most importantoutcome of the 2001 FMD outbreak would be for members of the public who are not farmers to take up the cause of eliminating these diseases that are so important to pastoral and small farmers all over the world and among the root causes of poverty in societies that depend upon livestock in ways not appreciated in the developed world."


Thursday 16th March Could it ever happen again?

Metaphors and misunderstandings; the role of the animalsciences,

academic and cultural sectors in interpreting and responding to pandemics.

It is argued that.. "the slaughter policy adopted by the British government in response to the 2001 outbreak of FMD was framed in terms of a cluster of metaphors that ultimately trapped the government inside a single policy solution to the detriment of searching for other possible solutions. FMD itself carried no health risks for humans, but the solutions adopted to deal with FMD did."  (Conceptualising Foot and Mouth Disease:The Socio-Cultural Role of Metaphors, Frames and NarrativesBrigitte Nerlich/Craig A. Hamilton/Victoria Rowe)

10 am:Poetry, Politics and Pandemics; researching the social and cultural impact of FMD. The outcomes of academic research projects about FMD; the role of epidemiologists and the ethical dimensions of the outbreak. Presentations by sociologists, philosophers, and poets; Dr Brigitte Nerlich and Dr Sam Hillyard (University of Nottingham, Institute for the Study of Genetics, Biorisks & Society), Dr Nick Wright, 'The Ethics of Disease Control' (University of British Columbia), Dr Martin Doering'An Outbreak of Poetry'(GKSS, Institute for Coastal Research). <>

2 pm Animal Epidemics and Society; Learning from FMD, and preparing for Avian Flu?

Societys preparedness, or lack of preparation for future pandemics. What can we learn from the FMD experience and current epidemiological research that might help us deal with new pandemics such as Avian Flu. Scientists, economists, academics, media and health experts in dialogue with civic leaders about the proposed preventative measures and potential social, health and economic impact of Avian Flu pandemic in Britain. Chair: Dr Michael ThrusfieldUniversity of Edinburgh,Easter Bush Veterinary CentreRoslin.<>. 

4.30 pm Conference plenary

Exhibitions and public programmes; presenting the Cultural Documents of FMD. Using the experience and records of FMD in devising new cultural strategies by which to document and tackle future pandemics. Exhibitions by artists, film makers and photographers who have been documenting the social, economic and environmental impact of FMD since 2001: Dark Days, by photographer John Darwell (Cumbria); Till the Cows Come Home, by Cumbrian photographer Nick May; Silence at Ramscliffe by Chris Chapman, Devon, Alex Moore 'Childs Play - Documenting FMD in Cumbria', and Clive Landen,'The Abyss' FMD in Gloucestershire and Wales. Holden Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University 6th to 30th March 2006. Other exhibitions and DVD presentations will also be on display at the Town Hall, 14 - 16 March.

A cultural centre for the study of pandemics and society - a proposed national FMD study centre, museum and archive.Proposals for a national FMD museum, and an archive and study centre devoted to study of pandemics, society and culture. A national repository and archive for the rural community records, scientific, documentary art works about the 2001 FMD outbreak. The Vache Folle, CitH des Sciences Museum Paris conference and exhibition about BSE will also be discussed at the conference as a possible museological precedent: <>

The exhibitions, conference and educational programmes are free and open to the general public.

To book a place for the conference and research seminars please contact:


42 Lodge Mill Lane, Turn Village,

Lancashire BL0 0RW, UK

Tel & FAX: 00 44 (0)1706 827 961 E-MAIL: website: <>

The conference is supported by Manchester Museum of Science and Industry; Nottingham University; the Rural Cultural Forum;Lancaster University, Manchester Metropolitan University; Arts Council England; and LITTORAL Arts