Music of Life

A study to see what outcomes there may be when genetic counsellors employ lively and appealing metaphors based around the theme of music to help patients wade into genetics, an area that has all too often been opaque to non-experts

Music of Life

Due to projects such as the 100,000 Genomes Project there has been a surge in ‘conversations around genomics’ happening with patients in the NHS. And yet, there has been limited support for health professionals in how to communicate genomic information appropriately when faced directly with a patient. Explaining, for example, a ‘pathogenic variant’ or ‘variant of uncertain significance’ can be a real challenge. Whilst Clinical Geneticists and Genetic Counsellors are familiar with this, there is no consistency in how they communicate such concepts and there are no tools to support non-specialist health professionals in how to do this. Building on the significant experience we have had over the last 4 years in exploring the evidence-base to guide specific conversations around genomics, we intend to support the genetic counselling process through the creation of 6 x 90 second films that can be used in and after a consultation by any health professional who needs to communicate genomic information to patients. These films have been co-created with the team of 13 genetic counsellors working at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Throughout 2018 the films will be evaluated for the effectiveness in communication with patients.  SER is working on this project with two commercial partners from the creative film industry: Tin Pot Films (director Tim Pope) and Thin Air Factory (founder Julian Borra). This unique collaboration has led to the development of a new metaphor to describe genomics concepts – the music of life. We were awarded a £50k grant from the Translation Fund at the Biodata Innovation Centre, Cambridge for this project and as far as we are aware, this will be the first time that creative films have ever been used within the genetic counselling process, worldwide.

Click here to open a new window where The Music of Life videos can be downloaded from our Vimeo page

Meet the crew behind the Music of Life videos

from Wellcome Genome Campus, Society and Ethics Research

Anna Middleton, executive producer/writer
Lauren Farley, BTS filming and editing

from The Thin Air Factory:

Julian Borra, creative writer

from Tin Pot Films:

Tim Pope, Director
Gavin Williams, cinematographer/editor
Victoria Scarborough, VO artist

from Black Label Productions:

Jules Fennell, producer
Gia Denis, prod. manager
Lauren Pratt, art director
Will Day, asst. art director
Dan Rosen, sound
Lex Wade, location manager
Karis, runner
Bill Hinton, medic

from Addenbrooke’s Hospital Clinical Genetics Unit:

Addenbrookes GC team