Co-creation of the Animations

Central to the project’s success is the relevance and accessibility of the animations to the groups of people who most frequently visit the research centre. Therefore, the Understanding MRI team first surveyed nearly 200 participants from both the PLORAS and qMAP-PD research groups to discover which MRI-related questions they found most interesting and salient.

The most popular question, What is functional MRI (fMRI)? became the focus for the first animation. 

The animation was brought to life using an iterative process across three online focus group sessions, with input from the research participants at each stage of the animation’s development. The group particularly focused on shaping the script, narration and image style.

Many of the focus group participants had aphasia – a condition affecting the ability to understand or formulate language after damage to specific brain regions. People with aphasia are traditionally underrepresented in research due to challenges surrounding communication, but many of these participants are now interested in contributing to further public engagement initiatives. The team was very mindful of making both these online sessions and the animation itself as accessible as possible to people with aphasia.

The resulting animation was completed in 2021 and won the Outstanding Public Engagement Project Award at the 2021 WCHN Public Engagement Awards Ceremony.  

The animation is being shared across the Centre’s and team websites, and with new and existing research volunteers, clinicians and other relevant contacts.  

Due to the success of the first video, the team were successfully awarded a second Public Engagement grant to co-create two more videos, alongside research volunteers. These will be published in 2022.