All posts in Blog Posts

Healthy Collaborations? A history of public health campaigns, comics and consumerism

Healthy collaborations?
Recently the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s launched the ‘Heroes’ campaign, offering collectable cards as a give-away alongside specific purchases which were associated (albeit tenuously) with health and wellbeing behaviours: ‘getting active’ ‘teaming up’ ‘being smart’ and ‘doing good’. Although that is hardly clear from the advert:


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Placing the Public in Public Health – the project book!

Placing the Public in Public Health in Post-War Britain, 1948–2012 is out and available in all good university bookshops, online, & to download Open-access.
The book, like many of the outputs produced by the Placing the Public team, was co-authored, with…

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A brief review of Bohemian Rhapsody – or what NOT to watch this LGBT History Month

In a nod to LGBT History Month 2019 Hannah J. Elizabeth thought they’d cast an HIV/queer historian’s eye over the film Bohemian Rhapsody. (Originally this blogpost was written for World AIDS Day 2018).


Firstly, Rami Malek is an excellent Freddie and the music is GREAT. However…

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Vaccinating Britain

I finished the manuscript to my new book on vaccination in late 2017. It was the culmination of my work at the Centre on Alex Mold’s Placing the Public in Public Health project. Thankfully, nothing interesting has happened on the subject since then.…

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“Injections ‘While You Dance’”

‘Injections “while you dance”, Manchester Guardian (8 April 1959), p. 4.
An “injections-while-you-dance” scheme is to be operated in Bristol to encourage immunisation among the under 25s’, noted the Manchester Guardian on 8 April 1959. ‘In clubs and halls dance records will be interrupted for propaganda…

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‘It’s more complicated than that…’ an occasional blog post series

‘It’s more complicated than that…’ is a common academic refrain.  How many times have you watched a TV programme or read a newspaper article that touches on an area you know about and shouted (probably to no-one in particular): ‘but it’s more complicated than that’?  Indeed, Ben…

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Remembering the ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ campaign

Remembering and thinking critically about the ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ campaign
An ‘It’s more complicated than that’ blog post
In 1986 the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) launched the AIDS-education campaign, ‘Don’t aid AIDS’, often recollected as the ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ campaign…

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Becoming emotional about public health

For me, writing history is an emotional process. Last week in the Wellcome Library archive I got the giggles reading an editor’s commentary on a draft of a safer-sex leaflet from 1987. The text was a 1987 Brook pamphlet on condom negotiation and HIV that had a wide…

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Horses for Courses (of vaccination) – the role of animals in the early diphtheria immunisation programme

Placing the Public focuses on the human public, and the strand of the project on vaccination is no exception to this. But it is impossible to write a history of immunisation without reference to animals. From the use of cowpox in eighteenth-century experiments on smallpox immunisation to the debates…

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