An academic at St Mary’s University, Twickenham has been on a week-long trip to Kenya to look at possible community-led solutions to air pollution in the country.
Matthew Hahn, Senior Lecturer in Drama, was awarded an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) / Medical Research Council (MRC) grant to create a piece of theatre that would raise awareness of air pollution in the informal settlement of Murukku in Nairobi.
During his stay in the African country Matthew, who is the only applied theatre specialist involved in the project, met with 17 UK based scientists and 20 members of the Murukku community. From this, it was agreed that a piece of legislative theatre would be created by the local community and overseen by Matthew, who will head back to Murukku in September for two weeks.
During the first week he will work with the community to create a piece of theatre which will be performed to a number of MPs, councillors and industrialists the following week in the hope that in they see what the terrible air pollution is doing to those in the community.
Matthew said, “I am honoured to be able to help out with such a huge project that will affect the lives of many, not just in the Murukku community, but the wider Nairobi population and I’m very grateful to AHRC/MRC for giving me this opportunity. The aim of the piece of legislative theatre is to make systemic changes to support the community and to clean up the air in the area and I am looking forward to going back in September to put this into action.”