Funder(s): Challenge Investment Fund and Economic and Social Research Council Innogen Centre
MI Researcher(s): Shawn Harmon

This project has brought together Edinburgh-based researchers from the humanities, art, and science to explore collaboratively ethical, legal, social, and scientific issues stemming from novel medical research and technologies, including cellular products and implanted smart technologies. The G&N Project brought together a range of disciplinary-based experts at two events – one an interactive workshop at the School of Law, and the second a Project Team visit with scientists and knowledge exchange experts at the new MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh. These discussions helped the Project Team to write an illustrated speculative fiction novel based in a near-future Edinburgh.

While largely dystopian, this fictional future portrays both the positive and negative potential of technological developments and their implications for public health. It raises questions about dual use of technologies, access to technologies and healthcare, commercialisation of health research, protection of data, and the difficulties of navigating regulatory pathways, all within a character-driven action story. The associated artwork, which is imaginative, professional and stimulating, seeks to enliven the story, forecast possible technological evolutions, and draw the reader further into both the plot and the issues explored therein.

The illustrated novel, Fever Medicine is now available online and in hard copy. It is intended that, in addition to promoting dialogue on biomedical issues, potential medical futures and their legal and bioethical implications, the illustrated novel will also encourage dialogue around the role of art and literature as conveyors of value and information. Longer term, it is hoped that the illustrated novel will contribute to the development of interdisciplinary teaching methods and a new course on the interplay between science, law and art at the University of Edinburgh.