Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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Beyond Resistance AMR Network: Re-imagining AMR - Beyond the Military Metaphor

You are warmly invited join us for our colloquium: Beyond the Military Metaphor: Re-imagining AMR.

This event is being organised by BEYOND RESISTANCE in association with Edinburgh Centre of Medical Anthropology, Atelier: Arts and the Social Sciences Network and in collaboration Edinburgh Infectious Diseases. 

Please save the date!

When:  Thursday 10 January 2019

Time:  1 - 5 pm, with lunch available

Where:  Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, University of Edinburgh, High School Yards

Registration:  Please complete the registration form

How language shapes our relationships with microbes

The language we use to articulate our relationship with the microbial world has profound consequences.

'Crises' are imminent with the rise of microbial resistance; we face a looming 'apocalypse' as the antibiotics fail to work; we 'fight' disease, and structure public health campaigns around 'military style' campaigns.

As we divide microbes into those that are friendly, and 'superbugs' that are 'enemies' we barely think of the impact that this language has on our bodies, our environment and our epistemologies. Yet we as humans are comprised of viruses, bacteria and fungi such that our bodies are inseparable from these.

Thus the way we talk about human-microbe relations has had profound effects on the way we understand them. But as the antibiotic era draws to an end, we urgently need creative ways of reconceptualising our relationship with microbes.

Re-imagining the human-microbe relationship

Through a series of presentations addressing language and microbes from a range of disciplines, including social sciences, the arts, microbiology, veterinary science, ecology, economics, philosophy, we open a discussion around how we frame our understanding of human-microbe relations.

Crucially, can we re-imagine this relationship otherwise - can our use of language be a part of this reframing?

Colloquium outputs

We anticipate two sets of outputs from this colloquium:

  1. A consensus on the themes that will form the basis of a position paper intended for publication with a major medical journal;
  2. An outline for key concerns/issues to be addressed in future BEYOND RESISTANCE network events.

We encourage you to contact us or pass on the details of the event to any interested parties you think would welcome this opportunity as we are keen to bring in as many diverse researchers as possible to bridge disciplinary divides and encourage holistic, creative thinking.


13:00 - Soft opening. refreshments and networking.

13:30 - Welcome and introduction.

13:40 - Lightening talks reacting to the provocation.

14:15 - Break into smaller discussion groups.

15:00 - Feed back to main room.

15:30 - Group discussion.

16:45 - Summary of the day. Overview of key themes/threads from the session and expected outputs.

17:00 - Closing remarks and thanks. Invitation to join for a reception at the Old Library.


Iona Walker (Beyond Resistance), Ian Harper (Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology), Till Bachmann (Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine), Laura Major (Atelier), Hilary Snaith (Edinburgh Infectious Diseases)



Beyond Resistance Network

Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine

Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology




Jan 10 2019 -

Beyond Resistance AMR Network: Re-imagining AMR - Beyond the Military Metaphor

Half day colloquium examining the language we use to articulate our relationship with microbes, and the consequences for our bodies and the environment.

Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation
University of Edinburgh
High School Yards