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Longitude Prize: Infectious Futures

Six stories of a post-antibiotic future bringing the scale and urgency of the challenge of antimicrobial resistance vividly to life.

Six stories of a post-antibiotic future bringing the scale and urgency of the challenge of antimicrobial resistance vividly to life.

Infectious Futures features six stories set in the near-future where the battle against antimicrobial resistance has not been won, and resistant infections are commonplace. Through the heartbreaks, frustrations, fears and triumphs of the characters the possible consequences of losing this critical battle are made powerfully real. Comment essays from experts in antimicrobial resistance and in public engagement set out the importance of building awareness and understanding of AMR and explore the place of stories in this work.

Bringing the issue to life

The new tests and drugs being developed to combat rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will fail without support from a public who understand the threat and so can make informed decisions and support long term change. AMR is a complex problem, and public awareness and understanding remains low. Infectious Futures is an attempt to bring the issue to life through the near-future stories of people living with the consequences of rising AMR. The stories make the impact powerfully real, and explore effects that extend far beyond the hospital. We see families struggle with both chronic and sudden illness, children frustrated by their risky, constrained world, exhausted doctors, desperate activists, and political crisis all driven by our deteriorating relationship with microscopic organisms.

The stories we tell of the future shape our ideas of what is possible, important, and achievable. Broadening the available visions of the future can help us recognise a wider array of potential threats and possibilities for change. To support this experiment in intervening in public ideas of AMR, we invited experts to contribute essays on the risks and rewards of using narrative to communicate complex threats.

Authors

Stories by Madeline Ashby, A.S. Fields, Jenni Hill, Tim Maughan, Lydia Nicholas and Michael Rathbone

Foreword from Roger Highfield, essays from Brigitte Nerlich and David Kirby

Part of
Longitude Prize

Authors

Joshua Ryan-Saha

Joshua Ryan-Saha

Joshua Ryan-Saha

European Prizes - Programme Manager

Joshua Ryan-Saha was the Programme Manager for the 'Future Prizes: Designing ICT prizes for Europe' programme, leading the design of 8-12 new multi-million euro challenge prizes. Jos...

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Lydia Nicholas

Lydia Nicholas

Lydia Nicholas

Senior Researcher, Explorations

Lydia was a senior researcher in Nesta’s Explorations team, focusing on how minds, systems and technologies come together to perform better at complex challenges with particular focu...

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